There are some encounter specialists in the Indian Police Service whose names generate fear among the miscreants on hearing their names. Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra police are dominating this list of encounter specialists.

  • Daya Nayak (48)

Daya Nayak is an Indian police inspector with the Mumbai police. Daya Nayak joined the Bombay Police as a trainee in 1985. After completing his training, he was posted to the Juhu police station in 1996. His first encounter killing happened on the night of 31 December, when he shot dead two members of the Chhota Rajan gang after they opened fire on him. Subsequently, he was shifted to the special squad working against the gangsters. By 2004, he had killed 83 gangsters including that of Chhota Rajan’s gang members, acquiring a reputation as an “encounter specialist”. 

In 2006, he was temporarily suspended, based on allegations of criminal links and disproportionate income by a journalist. The Anti-Corruption Bureau could not find any evidence against him, and he was reinstated by the Mumbai Police in 2012. He was transferred to Nagpur in January 2014 and suspended in July 2015 after he reportedly declined to join his new posting at Nagpur fearing his family’s safety. The transfer order was cancelled in August 2015, and Nayak was reinstated in January 2016, at the additional commissioner of police (West) control room.

  • Pradeep Sharma (54) 

Pradeep Sharma is a former officer in the police force of Mumbai, India. Pradeep Sharma was the second name for the culpable death in Mumbai in the 1990s and early 2000s when gang war in Mumbai was at its peak. Sharma attained notability as an “encounter specialist” with the Mumbai Encounter Squad and was involved with the deaths of as many as 312 criminals including top crime bosses and three LeT suspects.

On 31 August 2008, he was dismissed from the Mumbai police on charges of corruption but was reinstated on 16 August 2017 after he was proven innocent of those charges. Sharma resigned from Mumbai police in July 2019 after a 35-year long career. He officially joined the ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra on September 13, 2019, and contested from Nalasopara’s seat in the Maharashtra assembly polls but lost to Bahujan Vikash Aghadi’s candidate Kshitij Hitendra Thakur by a margin of 43,729 votes.

  • Late Vijay Salaskar

Vijay Salaskar AC (24 February 1957 – 26 November 2008) was an Indian police inspector and encounter specialist with the Mumbai police. He was widely credited with killing 75–80 criminals in encounters – including key members of the Arun Gawli gang.

Salaskar was killed while fighting terrorists in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. Captured terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab claimed responsibility for the killing. Before his death, Salaskar was head of the Anti-Extortion Cell, Mumbai. His patriotism and bravery were honoured with the Ashoka Chakra on 26 January 2009.

  • Sachin Waze (43)

Vaze joined the State Police Service in 1990 as a sub inspector. He was first posted to the terror affected area of Gadchiroli, a Naxal-affected area. In 1992 he was moved to Thane City Police. He gained immediate fame by detecting several big cases. While posted at Muslim majority Mumbra Police Station, he was instrumental in Hindu Muslim harmony in the area. Rising to higher ranks, he went to head the Special Squad of Thane Crime Branch who started encounters in Thane and thus selected to work at the elite Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai Police.

Vaze was an “encounter specialist” with the Mumbai Encounter Squad and was involved with the deaths of as many as 63 alleged criminals including key members of Chotta Rajan and Dawood Ibrahim’s gangs. 

He was suspended for 17 years after being arrested in the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus, but was granted bail and later reinstated in June 2020. He led the Raigad police team to arrest the editor-in-chief of Republic TV, Arnab Goswami. 

In March 2021, he was arrested By NIA in a car bomb scare case in Mumbai. Following his arrest, he was again suspended from police service. He is a suspect of murder.

  • Ravindranath Angre (55)

Ravindranath Angre is a former police officer in the Maharashtra Police Department. He is known for his extrajudicial killings of 54 suspected criminals including famous underworld don Suresh Machekar and members of gangster Amar Naik’s gang, mostly linked to organized crime. These killings have led him to be characterized as an “encounter specialist”

In 2008, Thane-based builder, Ganesh Wagh filed a complaint of threatening, extortion and robbery against Angre, following which the officer was arrested and suspended. He spent months in prison and was released in May 2009.

In 2010, Angre was again arrested on charges of attempt to murder Wagh’s brother Mahesh. The cop was granted conditional bail after spending 49 days in jail. Angre was acquitted by a sessions court for lack of circumstantial evidence or eyewitness in 2011.

He was later reinstated into the force and transferred to Gadchiroli. Angre refused to accept his transfer, following which he was dismissed from service in June 2014. He joined the BJP in November 2018

  • Praful Bhosale

Praful Bhosale is a famous encounter specialist of Mumbai police. Praful Bhosale is also another name of fear among the criminals in Mumbai. He is popularly known as killing machine in Indian police force. He has killed 90 criminals in his career. 

Praful Bhosale is considered an asset for the Mumbai’s crime branch. He is one of the very rare officers, who has the perfect blend of killer instinct and investigations. He has killed more than 85 gangsters since 1987. He is known as the ‘gentleman’ officer, this is because of his pleasant behaviour and soft spokenness. But when it comes to dealing with the hard-core criminals and gangsters, he rocks. His big hits include, the key associate of Chhota Shakeel, Arif Kalia, Anwar Badshah and Arun Mahajan, rival Chhota Rajan’s key hitman.

Not only this, he did a fantastic job at the Investors Summit-2018 held in the capital. He won the hearts of all the guests from the country and abroad due to the excellent security arrangements, the roundabout traffic system, and the polite behaviour of the policemen. Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised his work and was honoured by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

  • SSP Annant Dev

SSP Annant Dev in 2006, killed the dread don Dadua from Chambal while he was a part of the STF. After scouring the ravines for several days, they eliminated a big criminal like Dadua. After this, the Thokiya gang challenged the STF by killing 6 policemen. After which he killed Thokiya and his companions. SSP Ananat Kumar has done 60 encounters mostly in the Chambal region.

The Uttar Pradesh government suspended IPS Anant Dev on November 12, 2020, after the SIT constituted to investigate the matter had exposed the nexus between the police and gangster Vikas Dubey and recommended action against the accused policemen and administrative officials.

  • Rajesh Kumar Pandey (42)

Bareilly DIG Mr. Rajesh Kumar Pandey in Uttar Pradesh has 50 encounters in his name. Gangster Sriprakash Shukla was a special character of the encounter team.

Rajesh Kumar Pandey is credited to have led the first STF team which carried out an encounter outside the state in 1998, the year STF was formed. Four criminals were killed and two arrested by the team in Kolkata’s Park Street area.

Shri Rajesh Kumar Pandey has received four Indian Police Medals for Gallantry by the Honorable President of India for outstanding work, one President’s Meritorious Police Service medal, and the United Nations Peace Keeping Medal in Kosovo.

He has investigated major terrorist attacks in the state of the U.P, including the Ayodhya attack in 2005, the Varanasi Dashashwamedh temple terrorist incident in 2006, and the blast in district courts of Faizabad and Lucknow.

  • Late Rajbir Singh

Delhi Police encounter specialist Rajbir Singh, whose career had its share of both glory and controversy.

Singh, who had joined Delhi Police as a Sub-Inspector in 1982 was the first officer (Delhi Police) ever to be promoted to the rank of ACP in just 13 years of service. He had 56 encounter killings to his name, including the infamous Ansal Plaza operation in 2002 in which two terrorists were killed. However, questions were raised over some of his operations by human rights groups.

Sadly though, Rajbir didn’t die in the line of duty but was shot by a 20-year-old friend who owed him money from a property deal.

  • Abhitabh Yash IG STF

Amitabh Yash is currently Inspector General of Police (Special Task Force) in the state of UP. He received his education from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, and IIT, Kanpur. He served as Senior Superintendent of Police in various districts of UP including Saharanpur, Noida, Bulandshahar Barabanki, and Jalaun, and as Deputy Inspector General at Kanpur, Moradabad and Banda, and IG at Gorakhpur.

IPS Amitabh Yash has done more than 36 encounters. It is said that the criminals in the district where Amitabh used to go, either broke the bell and went to jail or left the district.

As a professional police officer, Amitabh specialized in Operations. He first honed his skills at Jalaun, a district then infested by heavily armed bands of brigands who virtually ruled the place. He eliminated the dreaded ‘Nirbhay Gurjar’ gang and was awarded a Police Medal for Gallantry. In 2007, he was asked to lead the Special Task Force of the UP police. Within a few months, he eliminated the dreaded ‘Dadua’ gang in Chitrakoot for which he was publicly felicitated by the CM of UP and awarded another Medal for Gallantry by Govt. of India.

The most visible operations were the decimation of around twenty dacoit gangs of the Bundelkhand region of UP and MP. These gangs had ruled the social, political, and economic landscape for more than thirty years. His third Gallantry Medal came on account of the elimination of the dreaded gang of ‘Thokia’, who had ambushed and killed six of the best STF Commandoes of STF. He has also been awarded the ‘Police Medal for Meritorious Services’ and the ‘Chief Minister’s Outstanding Services Medal.’ He is among the most decorated Police Officers of UP. It is famous for IG Abhitabh Yash, where ever he goes, criminals either re-enter jail or leave the district where he is serving.

  • IPS Navneet Sikera

Navniet Sikera (born 22 October 1971) is a 1996 batch IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, who is currently serving as the Additional Director General (ADG) of Uttar Pradesh Police.

The name of IPS Navneet Sikera has been in the news after the encounter of the famous gangster Ramesh Kalia in Lucknow. He has done 60 encounters so far. In the year 2001, he was awarded the award of 5 lakhs by the then CM of UP Rajnath Singh for developing GPS-GIS-based Automatic Vehicle Location System (AVLS). Along with this, he was also awarded the President’s Medal for his amazing contribution to the Police Department in 2005 and 2013.

  • IPS Daljit Chaudhary: (23/11/1965)

Daljit Chaudhary is a 1990 batch IPS officer, Daljit Chaudhary is particularly known for ending the bandit terror in Etawah and the nearby Chambal forests. Daljit Chaudhary has done about 50 encounters so far. He has been awarded the Gallantry Award (Bravery Award) five times for his bravery. When Daljit Chaudhary was the SP of Etawah and the DIG of Kanpur Range, during his tenure more than 50 times he was confronted with the dreaded dacoits. In which a large number of bandits were killed.

While a large number of dacoits also surrendered. IPS Daljit Chaudhary had just made an encounter with terrorist Saifullah in Lucknow a few months ago.

He has done more than 60 encounters. Have received Gallantry Awards 5 times. Have received Gallantry Awards 5 times. They eliminated dacoits from Etawah and the surrounding area.

Following an official order from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), dated October 21, 2020, Daljit Singh Chaudhary has been promoted and appointed at the rank of Additional Director General (ADG), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). 

  • IPS Suvendra Kumar Bhagat

Presently IG Lucknow rang IPS Suvendra Kumar Bhagat a 1988 batch UP cadre IPS officer has done about 50 encounters. He is considered a crime control master in the police department.

While holding the post of Chief of Special Task Police Force of UP Police, he did many big things and also did many encounters.

IPS Suvendra Kumar Bhagat is also known as ‘Crime Control Master’. In many cases, Suvendra Kumar Bhagat, who has eliminated criminals has done more than 50 encounters so far. The IPS officer awarded with the President’s Gallantry Medal is considered as the department crime controller. It is a saying that in the name of Suvendra, a 1988 batch UP cadre IPS officer, the tremors tremble.

IPS Suvendra Kumar Bhagat has been recently transferred and posted as Secretary-Home department, UP Government.

  • IPS Ashutosh Pandey

Senior IPS Ashutosh Pandey is a 1992 batch officer. Ashutosh Pandey is counted among the officers who have expertise in solving kidnapping cases. He is also known as an encounter specialist. It is said that this brave policeman has done more than 30 encounters so far. He is also known as Super Cop.

During his tenure, many dreaded criminals were also killed in the encounter. The fearless and courageous IPS officer Ashutosh Pandey is counted among the officers who have expertise in solving Kidnapping cases. Ashutosh Pandey is also known as an encounter specialist

  • IPS Vijay Bhushan

IPS Vijay Bhushan: Has done about 27 encounters. The dacoits were killed on the spot at the time of the bank robbery in Ghaziabad. The 32 murdered miscreants came into the limelight by killing Kittu.

Vijay Bhushan, who was admitted to the PPS rank in 1986 in Uttar Pradesh Police. Vijay Bhushan, a 2002 batch IPS officer after being promoted, was made SP of Mahakumbh 2012. Here he received a lot of praise for his work. Vijay Bhushan was then made SP in SP Naxal Operation ATS and also SP in STF. Vijay Bhushan is also known as an encounter specialist. Vijay Bhushan is considered to be a flamboyant and very knowledgeable officer of the Uttar Pradesh Police Department

Inspector General (Police Recruitment and Promotional Board) Vijay Bhushan further stretched his tally by being feted with the Presidents’ Medal for Distinguished Services for a second time on the eve of Republic Day. Vijay Bhushan, who is considered to be a flamboyant and very knowledgeable officer of the Uttar Pradesh Police Department, is being awarded the Gallantry Award or Bravery Award for the fifth time. IPS officer Vijay Bhushan, who is synonymous with the fear of criminals.

  • IPS Akhil Kumar

IPS Akhil Kumar: He has done more than 12 encounters. The dacoit has done an encounter with Nirbhay Gurjar. BSP government imposed a break on increased crime.

Akhil Kumar, who created a fear of the police in miscreants due to the Taburtodar encounter, led the memorable captaincy in the capital.

Akhil Kumar, who became the captain of the capital in the last days of 2007, made the team for two weeks of deployment. After this, the sequence of encounters started with the arrest of criminals. On the lines of the film Khaki, terrorists Noora alias Mohammed Bakhsh’s encounter triggered the dreaded criminal.

Till the implementation of the appointment of Deputy Inspector General of Police in place of Senior Superintendent of Police, a dozen crooks died in their memorable captaincy.