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Who was Munna Bajrangi? Mukhtar Ansari's henchman, sharpshooter, gangster, was the byword for terror in Purvanchal

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 09, Jul 2018, 12:00 pm IST | UPDATED: 13, Jul 2018, 13:13 pm IST

Who was Munna Bajrangi? Mukhtar Ansari's henchman, sharpshooter, gangster, was the byword for terror in Purvanchal Lucknow: Gangster Munna Bajrangi, who was imprisoned for killing a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA, was shot dead inside the jail premises in Uttar Pradesh on Monday, reports said. The shocking incident took place at around 6.30 am at the District Jail in Baghpat where Bajrangi was lodged for allegedly murdering BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005.

A judicial inquiry into the incident has been ordered into the incident and the jailor has also been suspended, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said. “Such an incident occurring inside jail premises is a serious matter. Will conduct an in-depth investigation and strict action to be taken against those responsible,” the CM added. Investigation team has arrived at Baghpat district Jail.

Born in 1967, Bajrangi hailed from a small village named Puredayal in Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

Bajrangi gave up studies after class V and dreamt of becoming a gangster.

Bajrangi was fond of keeping weapons from quite an early age and the first case against him was registered at the age of 17 in Surehi Police station of Janpur district. He was then accused of keeping illegal arms and fighting. Post this, Bajrangi was sucked into the world of crime.

Bajrangi had the backing of local Mafia Gajraj Singh and, in turn, worked for him. The first murder case against Bajrangi was registered in 1984 when he shot a businessman. After this, Bajrangi also murdered a BJP leader from Jaunpur, Ramchandra Singh, and became the byword for terror in Purvanchal.

In the early 90s, after establishing a toehold in the world of crime, Bajrangi joined the gang of Mukhtar Ansari, which was being operated from Mau. Meanwhile, Mukhtar Ansari joined Samajwadi Party in 1996 and was elected as MLA from Mau. Thereafter, Bajrangi started to interfere in the government contracts at the behest of Mukhtar Ansari.

Meanwhile, Krishnanand Rai backed by Mukhtar Ansari’s opponent Brajesh Rai, started opposing Ansari gang. Krishnanand Rai also entered politics and was elected as MLA on a BJP ticket from Mohammadabad Assembly seat in Ghazipur. Both the gangs were also reportedly connected to the underworld. The rise of Krishnanand Rai was the reason Ansari allegedly ordered his killing and gave responsibility to Munna Bajrangi.

On 20 November 2005, Munna Bajrangi allegedly peppered the vehicle of Krishnanand Rai with bullets fired from AK47 rifle on Lucknow highway. There were about 400 rounds fired from the AK47 rifles which killed Rai and six others on the spot. During the post-mortem of Rai, nearly 60 to 100 bullets were recovered from his body. This shootout made Bajrangi a notorious name in the world of crime.

In the murder of Krishnanand Rai, UP Police, STF and CBI were on a look out for Bajrangi and a reward of seven lakh rupees was also declared on his head. Police finally caught up with Bajrangi and he was arrested from Mumbai in 2009. During his time in Mumbai, Bajrangi developed ties with the underworld.

Taking the lead from his boss Mukhtar Ansari, Munna Bajrangi also tried his hand at politics but could not win. More than 40 criminal cases were registered against him in seven states, including Uttar Pradesh. He was also accused in many cases of kidnapping and ransom.

Parkash Singh, former UP DGP, told that the government must set up an inquiry to ascertain if the jail authorities are complicit in the case. “An inquiry must be set up by the UP government in the matter. Whoever is found guilty must be dealt with sternly and given the harshest punishment as per law,” Singh, who also served as the chief of the Border Security Force said.

Singh further asserted that it would be wrong to jump the gun and blame the state police for the incident as jail security generally does not fall under the purview of the police department. “I am not aware of a police personnel being deputed at the Baghpat jail but it has not been under the purview of the police department in UP.”

He, however, called for urgent reforms in the manner in which jail security is dealt with.

“Time and again, we hear of some or the other illicit activity inside jail – be it the presence of drugs, weapons or mobile phones. However, only when an incident such as this comes is when we wake up and start talking about the deficiencies in the system. There is a need for reforms urgently to address the several issues that going on inside our jails,” said Singh, who served as DGP of UP from 1991 to 1993.

Bajrangi, who was lodged in Jhansi jail since his arrest from Mumbai in 2009, was brought to Baghpat district jail for appearing in an extortion case. He was accused in more than 40 murder and extortion cases and once carried a reward of 7 lakh on his head.

Meanwhile, Bajrangi’s advocate V Srivastava said the gangster was brought to District Jail in Baghpat from Jhansi last night. “At 6;30am today, a convict lodged in the jail shot him dead and hid the pistol in a gutter. Few days ago, we had made UP CM aware of threat to gangster Munna Bajrangi’s life”,” the lawyer alleged.

The incident comes just days after Bajrangi’s wife had claimed of a threat to his husband’s life and accused the Yogi Adityanath government.

Bajrangi, who was on the Police’s most wanted list in the past, has reportedly kept changing his allegiance to political parties. However, his rise as a dreaded gangster was curtailed in the aftermath of the shocking murder of the BJP MLA.

Here are key facts about Munna Bajrangi:

* Munna Bajrangi’s original name is Prem Prakash Singh. He is survived by his wife and three children.

* In early 2000s, Bajrangi supported the Samajwadi Party but later turned to Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

* MLA Krishnanand Rai was killed in 2005. Bajrangi served jail terms since 2009. Earlier he was lodged in Tihar Jail.

* In 2012 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, he fought from jail as the joint candidate of the Apna Dal and the Peace Party. However, he lost to Samajwadi Party’s Shraddha Yadav and came in a distant third position.

* Last year, Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government had ordered the transfer of 48 criminals from their current jails to other prisons across the state. Bajrangi, along with gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, was one of them. Munna Bajrangi was then transferred to Pilibhit jail.

Since coming to power, CM Adityanath has taken measures to keep a strict vigil on jailed criminals. A special task force was set up to keep a check on the activities of the criminals. In addition, jammers were also installed in jails. The government also passed a directive stating that a strict check has to be kept on the criminals, making sure that they don’t carry any mobile phones with them.