Gangster Prem Prakash Singh alias Munna Bajrangi was shot dead early Monday morning in Baghpat jail, literally hours after he had been moved there, despite his protestations, and 10 days after his wife warned in a press conference that his life was in danger.
According to the state police, he was killed by another gangster Sunil Rathi after an altercation inside the jail. The motive for the killing wasn’t immediately clear.
Uttar Pradesh director general of police OP Singh confirmed that the gangster was shot dead inside the jail after a brawl with Sunil Rathi who was lodged there.
“Rathi has been detained and is being interrogated. We are probing how the firearm reached him. It is a serious lapse by the jail administration,” Prakash added.
Additional director general (ADG), prisons, Chandra Prakash suspended four jail officials while chief minister Adityanath ordered a judicial inquiry.
“Such an incident occurring inside jail premises is a serious matter. We will conduct an in-depth investigation and strict action will be taken against those responsible,” Adityanath said.
Demanding a CBI inquiry, Bajrangi’s wife Seema Singh accused the administration, some senior officials and rival gangsters of hatching the conspiracy that led to her husband’s s killing and claimed it was because “Bajrangi had decided to try his luck in politics”. In a press conference 10 days ago, she had accused the state’s special task force (STF) of planning to murder her husband.
Bajrangi was shifted to Baghpat from Jhansi jail around 9.30 pm Sunday night for an appearance in a local court on Monday in an extortion case.
According to people familiar with the matter, he was shot at 5.30 am when the prisoners were being served tea.
Bajrangi was accused in multiple cases of murder, attempt to murder and extortion. He was the key accused in the sensational murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, who, along with his seven supporters, was killed during an attack on his motorcade in Ghazipur district of eastern Uttar Pradesh on November 29, 2005.
BJP MLA Alka Rai, the widow of Krishnananad Rai, said she believed in God and judicial system and both always did justice.
ADG said Bajrangi suffered a gunshot wound in his head and succumbed to injuries while being taken to the jail hospital.
Sunil Rathi’s is a dreaded name in west Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. He stepped into the world of crime after the murder of his father Naresh Rathi, the then chairman of Tikait Nagar panchayat, and brother in 1998 allegedly by their political rival Sompal Rathi of the same village.
Rathi’s gang is mostly active in western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, New Delhi and Haryana.
Bajrangi had unsuccessfully contested the UP assembly elections in 2012 from Mariyahu as a joint candidate of Apna Dal and Peace Party. His brother-in-law and lawyer Vikas Srivastava said the family had warned the government about the danger to his life. “Bajrangi was not well and was undergoing treatment. Due to his illness, hearings in different cases of Varanasi and Delhi were being done through video conferencing,” he said.
“He had also pleaded for hearing through video conferencing in Baghpat court too but the officials were adamant (that he had to go there),” Srivastava added.
Senior police officials said Bajrangi, who had been in jail since his arrest in Mumbai in January 2009, allegedly operated an extortion racket from prison.
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