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Senior Russian Police Official Charged With Hooliganism

MOSCOW -- A senior Russian police official has been charged in connection with a shooting incident earlier this year, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

General Yevgeny Novikov, the deputy head of the Public Order Department at the Interior Ministry, was charged with hooliganism and illegal arms possession.

The charges relate to an incident in February, when Novikov apparently lost his way in one of Moscow's industrial districts.

He is alleged to have asked for directions from a group of security officers standing outside a local factory.

When a quarrel ensued, Novikov is alleged to have taken out a pistol and opened fire. Nobody was hurt.

Novikov says he is not guilty.

Sergei Marchenko, a spokesman for the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor-General's Office, told journalists today that the case against Novikov was opened in March.

He said Novikov had been avoiding questioning, claiming illness.

This week he was finally brought by force to the prosecutor's office, where investigators handed him the indictment.