UP Don Bajrangi Shot Dead: The Journey Of a Criminal Mastermind
A look at how the infamous UP don became a criminal mastermind and entered politics.
Gangster Prem Prakash Singh alias ‘Munna Bajrangi’ was shot dead in Baghpat’s District Jail in Uttar Pradesh on the morning of 9 July.
He was a dreaded criminal, implicated in over 40 murders in a span of 20 years.
Singh was allegedly murdered by a fellow inmate Sunil Rathi, who was a member of a rival gang, according to The Hindu.
Bagpat police officials said that Bajrangi was brought out from Jhansi Jail on Sunday as he had to appear in the local court in a case involving alleged extortion of money from BJP lawmaker Lokesh Dixit in 2017.
Barely 10 days back, Bajrangi’s wife had addressed a press conference in Lucknow saying that her husband’s life was in danger.
My husband’s life is in danger and I want to tell Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that a conspiracy is being hatched to kill him in a fake encounter.Seema Singh, Munna Bajrangi’s wife on 29 June, Lucknow
Two years back in 2016, Bajrangi's younger brother-in-law, Pushpjeet, who used to look after his business, was murdered in Vikas Nagar colony in Lucknow.
Last year, his close associate Tariq was also shot.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has come out strongly against the crime. He called for suspension of jail officials and also demanded a judicial inquiry.
Last year, Adityanath had ordered the transfer of 48 criminals, from the prisons where they were lodged to different prisons across the state. Bajrangi was transferred to the Pilibhit jail as part of this exercise.
Initial Steps Into the World of Crime
Munna Bajrangi, 51, belonged to Purvanchal, a region between eastern Uttar Pradesh and Western Bihar.
The first case filed against him was for battery and possession of illegal weapons when he was merely 17 years old, according to PTI.
In the early 1980s, Bajrangi joined Gajraj Singh’s gang in Jaunpur, UP, where he became a trained master killer.
While serving Singh, Bajrangi looted and killed a businessman in the year 1984, reported PTI. In the year 1996, he also murdered a BJP leader Ramchandra Singh, police officials said.
Walking With the Echelons of Power
In the 1990s Bajrangi met Mukhtar Ansari, who was a gangster with influence in Mau, UP.
Soon their relationship grew so close that within no time Bajrangi rose up the ranks to become Ansari’s chief henchman.
As Ansari shifted his course from being a full-time gangster to being a politician, Bajrangi, his second-in command, became the alpha of the gang.
Under the protection of Ansari, who was now an MLA from the Samajwadi Party, the gang flourished without impunity. Ansari’s gang earned money from procuring government contracts.
BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai was a close associate of Brijesh Singh, who was a leader of a rival gang of Ansari and it was Ansari’s rivalry with Singh that led to the death of Rai, according to PTI.
On 29 November 2005, Bajrangi killed Rai in broad daylight. He and his gang fired around 400 bullets from 6 AK-47 rifles to kill Rai, along with six other men who were travelling with him. Sixty-seven bullets were procured from the bodies of the seven killed, reported PTI.
Stepping Into Politics
After this murder, staying in UP and Bihar became increasingly difficult for him. He decided to escape to Mumbai where he soon joined hands with the underworld.
By this time not only were the UP Police and Special Task Force on the lookout for him, but also the Delhi police and Maharashtra police were trying to track him down.
Finally, in 2009, Bajrangi was arrested by the Delhi police from Mumbai’s Malad area for his alleged involvement in Rai’s murder.
While being imprisoned in Tihar Jail, Bajrangi decided to step into politics. He fought in the UP Legislative elections in 2012 contesting from Mariyahu as a joint candidate of Apna Dal and Peace Party of India.
He did not win, rather came third, having garnered 12 percent votes.
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