Meet Munna Bajrangi: A terror even for dreaded criminals

Lucknow, Jul 9 (PTI) Gangster Munna Bajrangi, whose real name was Prem Prakash Singh, was an accused in as many as 40 criminal cases, including those of murder and extortion, and his very name sent shivers down the spine of even dreaded criminals. The mafia don, who once carried a reward of Rs 7 lakh on his head, was born in 1967. He had dropped out of school after studying till Class 5. He had a stint in politics and had unsuccessfully contested the 2012 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls from Mariyahu in Jaunpur as an Apna Dal candidate. Bajrangi, who was on the Uttar Pradesh Police's most wanted list in the past, kept changing his allegiance to political parties. However, his rise as a dreaded gangster was curtailed in the aftermath of the shocking murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005. Bajrangi, who met a gory death inside the Baghpat district jail this morning, was brought from the Jhansi jail yesterday and was to be produced in a Baghpat court later today in a case of demanding extortion money from former BSP MLA Lokesh Dixit in 2017. He was in jail in connection with the murder case of Rai since 2009. Bajrangi had developed an affinity for arms when he was a teenager and had entered the world of crime at an early age. The first case against him was filed when he was only 17-year-old. He was named in the case for possessing illegal arms. Bajrangi subsequently joined Gajraj Singh's gang in Jaunpur to make a mark in the world of the mafia. He committed his first major crime in 1984 when he killed a businessman. Bajrangi, who was also known as mafia don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari's right-hand man, had joined the latter's gang in the 1990s. Ansari's gang used to operate all over eastern Uttar Pradesh. Ansari joined politics in 1996 and became a Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA from Mau. Ansari's gang used to make money by obtaining government contracts. Bajrangi strengthened his presence in the world of crime after Ansari became a politician. Ansari's rivalry with Brijesh Singh, another gangster, led to the death of BJP MLA Rai, who was an associate of Singh. In 2001, Singh's gang had ambushed the Ansari gang on the Mau-Lucknow highway. Rai was murdered in broad daylight by Bajrangi and his gang in 2005. They had fired 400 bullets at Rai from six AK-47s rifles. Rai was accompanied by six others and 67 bullets were recovered from the seven bodies. Bajrangi was arrested in the case in 2009 from Mumbai's Malad area. Bajrangi contested the 2012 Uttar Pradesh polls while he was lodged in Tihar Jail in New Delhi. He contested from Mariyahu as a joint candidate of the Apna Dal and the Peace Party and finished third, polling 12 per cent votes less than Shraddha Yadav of the SP, who won the seat. In March 2016, Bajrangi's younger brother-in-law, Pushpjeet, who used to look after his business, was shot dead at the Vikas Nagar colony in Lucknow and his close associate Tariq was shot at in Lucknow in December last year. On June 29, Bajrangi's wife Seema Singh had claimed at a press conference in Lucknow 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," she had said. Last year, Adityanath had ordered the transfer of 48 criminals from the jails where they were lodged to other prisons across the state. Bajrangi and Ansari were among them. Bajrangi was transferred to the Pilibhit jail.
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