Unidentified men freed dreaded gangster Rohit Saandu from police custody in Jansath area of Muzaffarnagar after shooting a Sub-inspector who was accompanying the criminal, police said on Wednesday.
Saandu, 26, has 38 criminal cases against him and was lodged in Mirzapur jail. He was brought to Muzaffarnagar for a court hearing on Tuesday.
While he was being taken back, the police team stopped at an eatery in Jansath for dinner.
"As the meal was being served, 3-4 armed men entered the premises and threw red chilli powder on us and opened fire. We also fired on the attackers but they managed to escape with Rohit Saandu. Sub-inspector Durg Vijay Singh sustained a bullet injury," said Constable Akhilesh Singh, who was present on the spot.
After the sensational escape, there is possibility of a gang war looming in the region as Saandu is a rival of Sushil Mooch, leader of a notorious western UP gang.
According to police sources, Saandu was arrested in November 2015 for the murder of a revenue official, Pramod Sharma in Sikhera police station area and was sent to jail. Later, he was shifted to Mirzapur jail.
According to Muzaffarnagar SSP Abhishek Mishra: "A manhunt is on in the area and the neighbouring districts has also been alerted. We will arrest Rohit Saandu soon."