Wanted criminal Manoj Pun killed in Rupandehi police encounter

KATHMANDU: Notorious criminal Manoj Pun was reportedly killed in an encounter with the police at Bhawanipur in Devdaha Municipality-4 of Rupandehi district early Wednesday morning.

Pun, along with his aide Som Bahadur Ale, was shot at after the duo opened fire and tried to flee the police in Devdaha, at around 3:30 am today, according to Superintendent of Police (SP) Shyam Gyawali, the Chief of Rupandehi District Police Office.

Acting on a tip-off from Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police, a team carried out a search operation and came across the duo riding on a motorcycle. Subsequently, the duo were shot during the exchange of fire, said SP Gyawali.

Critically injured Pun and Ale were taken to Lumbini Zonal Hospital where they were pronounced dead upon admission.

Pun, the resident of Bhawanipur in Devdaha Municipality-4, was the prime suspect involved in the murder of Youth Force leader Durga Tiwari who was shot dead in the district. Deceased Pun was also allegedly involved in the recent murder of Kathmandu-based businessman Sharad Kumar Gauchan, and sawmill owner Basanta Paudel in Devdaha Municipality on January 5.

Police have confiscated a pistol from the possession of deceased Pun.

Pun had allegedly been operating an extortion racket and had been involved in a number of kidnappings and murders of businessmen. Teams from CIB had been searching for Pun for a year, police informed.

Police action against gangsters since 2014

August 6, 2014: Dinesh Adhikari alias Chari was shot dead in Kathmandu

August 20, 2015: Kumar Shrestha alias Ghainte was killed in police encounter in Kathmandu after he allegedly opened fire on cops in civvies who tried to detain him for questioning about his suspicious activities, acting on complaints of his involvement in extortion

June 23, 2016: Police opened fire on gangster Jaswant Rai and took him under control from Bijuli Bazaar in Kathmandu. He survived. Police said they were forced to open fire after Rai attacked them with a rod

August 7, 2017: Pravin Khatri was shot dead in Kusunti of Lalitpur. Police raided his house on suspicion that he was hiding illegal drugs and arms

January 27: Police opened fire on Tika Thapa Magar alias Tike, 29, of Ramechhap in Chitwan. He was on the run for 10 days after escaping from Dillibazar prison. He survived

February 21: Manoj Pun, an alleged gangster who was under police surveillance for his involvement in serial killings, was killed at Devdaha of Rupandehi, in exchange of fire with cops on Wednesday. Som Ale, one of Pun’s associates, was also killed in police action. Pun had owned up murders of Sharad Kumar Gauchan of Kathmandu and Durga Tiwari and Basanta Paudel of Rupandehi

Modus operandi

KATHMANDU: Nepal Police seems to be resorting to ‘encounters’ to get rid of gangsters, who are mostly involved in extortion, apart from other criminal activities.

A high-level police official claimed that the gangsters were killed or injured after cops were compelled to open fire in ‘self-defence’. “In all cases, police opened fire on the gangsters in ‘self-defence’ after they tried to break the security cordon or shot at cops trying to arrest them,” SP Gyawali said.