Lucknow: It may not be ‘Ab Tak 56’, but it’s definitely ‘Ab Tak 52’. It reflects the number of criminals eliminated in the Meerut zone during the Yogi Adityanath regime, which is just two months shy of the half-way mark.

Stating that the police are only doing a cleanup job, Prashant Kumar, Additional Director General (ADG) of Police (Meerut zone), said, “We have eliminated many hardcore criminals.”

Meerut and Muzaffarnagar districts in Western Uttar Pradesh have been the backyard of organised crime. The Meerut zone, which comprises nine districts, including Meerut, Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar, has seen the maximum fatal encounters among the seven zones in the state.

The ADG said 945 criminals were shot, injured and arrested after encounters in the Meerut zone in the last two-and-a-half years, which was a major achievement for the police.

Kumar was talking to reporters after recent encounters. In many cases, policemen too received injuries. In the twin encounter, in which four history-sheeters were killed, four policemen were also injured.

On Tuesday, four criminals were eliminated in encounters, about 50 km apart. The police reportedly ‘avenged’ the killing of a sub-inspector by these criminals a fortnight ago.

According to reports, on July 2 Rohit, a dreaded criminal, escaped from the police custody in Muzaffarnagar while being taken back to jail after a court hearing. Six men came in a luxury car, fired at the cops and helped Rohit escape.

Rohit had spent the last four years in jail and was facing 44 serious cases.

In the incident, sub-inspector Durg Vijay Singh was hit by a bullet and later succumbed to injury.

While the police arrested three members of the Rohit gang, three others — Amit, Rajat and Rakesh — remained at large along with Rohit himself.

In the early hours of Tuesday, the police reportedly saw the four criminals on motorcycles in Muzaffarnagar. When stopped, the criminals opened fire at the cops. In retaliatory fire, Rohit and Rakesh were killed. Amit and Rajat, who escaped the scene, were killed eight hours later in Meerut in another encounter.

While Rajat carried Rs 1 lakh reward on his head, and the three others had Rs 50,000 rewards each, he said. Pistols were recovered from the slain criminals.

A day later, on Wednesday, another wanted criminal, involved in the looting of Rs 65 lakh from the company of a Rajya Sabha member, was gunned down in Ghaziabad.