One of the accused persons in the killing of a witness in the 2005 murder case of an MLA in Uttar Pradesh was shot dead by the police in a gunfight in Prayagraj on Monday, PTI reported. He is the second accused man in the case to have been killed in the shootout.

Vijay Chaudhary was shot dead in the Kaundhiyara police station area around 5.30 am, Dhumanganj Station House Officer Rajesh Kumar Maurya said.

The police claimed Chaudhary had fired at the police that led to a gunfight. He suffered bullet injuries on his neck, chest and thigh, according to PTIS.

A constable, Narendra Pal, was also injured in the shootout, the police said. He is being treated at the community health centre in Kaundhiyara.

On February 24, Umesh Pal, a witness in the killing of MLA Raju Pal, was shot dead as he got out of the backseat of a vehicle in Prayagraj. His two security guards were injured in the incident and later died during treatment.

Three days later, Arbaaz, who was the driver of the car used by the assailants to attack Pal, was gunned down by the police in Prayagraj.

The police allege that Pal’s killing was planned by gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and have booked him, his wife Shaista Parveen and their sons. His younger brother Ashraf has also been named in the case.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had vowed to destroy the mafias after the Opposition Samajwadi Party questioned the law and order situation in the state in the wake of the killings.

The Prayagraj administration had also demolished the homes of Ahmed’s aides after claiming that they were built illegally.

While there is no legal provision to destroy the property of anyone accused of an offence, Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state governments have been increasingly dispensing “bulldozer justice” by conducting demolition drives under the guise of removing encroachments. Most of these drives are targeted at properties owned by Muslims.