New Delhi: A policeman was killed when four armed youths in the age group of 16-18 years fired at a member of a rival gang in a packed court here, police said. The target was injured.
Head Constable Ram Kumar received bullets in his head and chest and collapsed dead on the fifth floor Karkardooma courtroom when two of the four killers opened fire at Irfan alias Chhenu, their target.
Irfan, who was involved in 23 criminal cases in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh including those of murder, suffered a bullet wound in his leg while another bullet scraped his head. He was declared out of danger.
Panic gripped the court as the shots rang out, witnesses and police officers told IANS.
Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Gupta ducked for cover while several others in the room screamed in terror.
Irfan's lawyer Shaqib Quereshi said he was writing something when he heard rapid sounds. "When I turned I was horrified to see bullets being fired," he told IANS.
But as the killers tried to get away, an unidentified lawyer and a policeman pounced on the two men, who had fired eight or nine rounds from pistols, and captured them.
The other two members of the killer gang who were waiting outside the courtroom tried to flee but were chased and overpowered.
Lawyers thrashed all four criminals before handing them over to police.
The arrested men were identified as Sahil, Govind, Sunny and Sunil. All of them were 16 to 18 years old. Three of them were residents of Dakshinpuri and one lived in Madangir -- in south Delhi.
"The killer gang entered the court and opened fire when they saw Irfan," Joint Commissioner of Police (Eastern Range) Sanjay Beniwal told IANS.
"Unfortunately, the policeman who was holding Irfan's hands in the accused box was killed," he said.
The firing took place when prisoners under trial were being produced in court room no. 73 around 11.30 a.m.
Irfan headed a criminal gang while the killers were from the Nasir gang.
An official of the Rohini Jail where Irfan was kept for the past six months had reportedly warned the court that he should be tried on camera as he was a hardcore criminal, a lawyer told IANS.