Three suspected dacoits were shot dead as they tried to rob a bank in Assam's Kokrajhar district, police said on Sunday.
Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said that the dacoits were targeting the bank at Chengmari and when intercepted, opened fire on police. Police retaliated and three dacoits from Mancachar and Goalpara districts were injured and subsequently succumbed to their wounds, he said.
"Vehicles, tools, gas cutters, two pistols along with Oxygen Cylinders were recovered from the area. Operation was on till late night to flush out the rest of the dacoits," the DGP said on Twitter.
Another police official said that acting on intelligence inputs that a gang of robbers would try to attempt to rob an Allahabad Bank branch at Bhotgaon near Kokrajhar town, police had laid an ambush before the gun fight occurred late on Saturday night.
Dacoits had also tried to rob the same bank branch three months back but police foiled their attempts.
CM lauds police
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also holds the Home Department, appreciated the efforts of the police in preventing the bank robbery.
Amidst controversy among various political parties, rights groups and civil society over the the purported "police encounters" in Assam, with the latest incident, the number of deaths has increased to 21, while 33 persons were injured since Sarma become Chief Minister on May 10.
Police, however, say that the accused attempted to escape from custody or attacked them, leading to them opening fire.
The Chief Minister has continued to maintain that the state police has the "full authority" to deal with criminals and unlawful elements in the ambit of the law.
(With inputs from IANS)