Gangster Sanjeev Maheshwari Jeeva, an accused in the 1997 murder case of BJP leader Brahm Dutt Dwivedi and aide of gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari, was shot dead in the premises of a Lucknow court on Wednesday.
Police said the shooter, who came into the court dressed up like a lawyer, has been detained.
The jailed gangster was brought to the court for hearing in a criminal case when the accused opened fire at him. One of the bullets injured a woman standing nearby.
The 48-year-old gangster was notorious for being one of the dreaded shooters of Ansari. Several criminal cases have been registered against him for offences such as murder, kidnapping, extortion and dacoity in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Hardiwar and Farrukhabad regions of Uttar Pradesh. Police said Maheshwari was accused in 24 cases, out of which he had been acquitted in 17.
Earlier, he was acquitted in the murder case of Krishna Nand Rai in 2005.
BJP leader Brahm Dutt had stepped in to help BSP chief Mayawati, after she was besieged by Samajwadi Party workers in the infamous 1995 guesthouse case.
He was killed on February 10, 1997, while returning from a tilak ceremony in the City Kotwali area of Farrukhabad district. Dutt was then serving as MLA from Farrukhabad. His gunner BK Tiwari was also killed in the attack, while driver Rinku suffered injuries.
The CBI court in Lucknow sentenced Maheshwari and former Samajwadi Party MLA Vijay Singh to life imprisonment in the case on July 17, 2003. The convicts had moved the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court against the verdict, which upheld the trial court judgment in 2017.
A local court in Delhi had acquitted Maheshwari, co-accused Mukhtar Ansari and his brother Afzal Ansari for the murder of then BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai and six others in 2019. All eyewitnesses and material witnesses had turned hostile in the case.
Rai had defeated Afzal Ansari in the 2002 Assembly polls. The BJP MLA from Mohammadabad was murdered along with six others on November 29, 2005, when some people with automatic and semi-automatic weapons waylaid them and opened fire on his vehicle.