NEW DELHI - Police in New Delhi said they have gunned down an alleged gangster wanted in a string of contract killings, extortions and kidnappings.
Officers fired on Surendra Malik, also known as Neetu Dabodia, as he tried to escape arrest near a luxury five-star hotel in the Indian national capital late Thursday, the Press Trust of India reported Friday.
He was killed late Thursday along with two companions, senior police officer S.N. Srivastava said.
Media reports described him as one of New Delhi's "notorious" criminals, and as among the city's 10 most wanted.
When police intercepted Dabodia and his companions and asked them to surrender, they rammed their car into the police vehicle and opened fire at them, Srivasatava alleged.
"We retaliated in self-defence and in the shootout all the three occupants of the car were killed," Srivasatava said.
The men were pronounced dead at the hospital, the national news agency said.
"With the killing of Dabodia, a reign of terror in Delhi and NCR (the National Capital Region) has come to an end," the news agency quoted an unnamed senior police official as saying.
Dabodia, who had eluded police capture several times, was allegedly involved in the slaying of a police constable last November.
The Press Trust reported that police were seeking him over 50 cases of murder, extortion and kidnapping.
Indian police have come frequently under criticism from human rights groups for so-called "encounter killings" - extra-judicial murders when alleged criminals are shot dead to sidestep court procedures.
Police identified one of the other dead men as Alok Gupta and described him as "an associate" of Dabodia, according to media reports.
The identity of the third dead man was not immediately known.