Rajesh Pandey was pivotal in the takedown of Sriprakash Shukla and his associates
Twenty-five years after leading India's first special task force (Uttar Pradesh STF) in gunning down gangster Sriprakash Shukla, former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Rajesh Pandey unveiled his first book, 'Operation Bazooka: The True Story Behind the Hunt for the Most Dreaded UP Gangster' in Bhopal.
As a founding member of the UPSTF, Mr Pandey was pivotal in the takedown of Shukla and his associates, Anuj Pratap Singh and Sudhir Tripathi, during a 1998 showdown in Ghaziabad's Indirapuram.
Co-written with journalist and media studies professor Rakesh Goswami, the 192-page book delves into the brutal history of gang wars in eastern UP and Bihar, leading up to Shukla's death in 1998. The retired officer is credited with taking down more than 72 criminals in UP.
It was following rumours of Shukla having accepted a "supari (contract)" to kill then UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh that the STF was set up. During an informal chat with NDTV, the author Mr Pandey said, "Shukla used to have an AK-47. It was perhaps the first time when the use of AK-47 by a UP gang was reported."
The gangster was shot dead in a fierce encounter in September 1998 in Ghaziabad district's Indirapuram.
This is the first book penned by the ex-IPS officer; he retired a few years ago IG of Bareilly.
The UP STF recently turned 25. It recently came into limelight as they played a crucial role in demolishing the empire of gangster Atiq Ahmed.