Police in India have arrested a "Robin Hood" gang leader of 25 merry men who robbed the rich and gave some of the proceeds (but not all) to the poor.

Wasim Akram, 27, alias Lambu (Lofty) and his outfit robbed "big houses in posh areas in Delhi", stealing cash and jewellery and giving some of the loot to the financially deprived, police said.

"Due to this trait, he has got many followers in the area. These sources give him immediate information about the movement of police so as to enable him to escape," Delhi police said last night.

The "notorious absconding history sheeter", an Indian English term meaning a habitual criminal, would frequently change his hideouts across several Indian states, a statement said.

With 160 crimes allegedly to his name, including robberies, attempted murder and rape, a special cell on Akram's tail for the past four months finally caught him on Friday.

"A team led by [Inspector] Shiv Kumar was formed and a trap was laid near Anand Vihar railway station from where Wasim was nabbed," the police statement said.

"A single shot pistol with three live cartridges was recovered from his possession at the time of apprehension," it said.