In what is being claimed as Delhi Police’s first arrest of a gangster outside India, Deepak Pahal alias Boxer, one of the capital’s most wanted gangsters, has been nabbed in Mexico by teams of the Special Cell.
Sources in the Delhi Police said the operation, which started in mid-March, was conducted with the assistance of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Mexico Police. In less than 30 days, police found that Pahal had travelled to five countries to reach Mexico’s Cancún and was planning to cross the border to reach the US.
Pahal, who was arrested on Monday, has been heading the infamous Gogi gang after its leader, Jitender Gogi, was shot dead by rivals inside Rohini court in 2021.
According to the Special Cell, a meeting was held last year by Union Home Minister Amit Shah where police were directed to legally pursue organised criminals/terrorists who are trying to hide abroad. Talking to the media, Special Commissioner of Police HGS Dhaliwal (Special Cell) said, “We worked extensively on the guidelines and have arrested several members from the Gogi and Tillu Tajpuria gangs. Gangsters like Goldy Brar, Deepak Boxer, Kaushal and Lucky Patial are on our list. After Gogi’s murder, Pahal rose as the Operational Command of the nexus. He is a national-level boxer and has won gold medals in championships in India. Since our focus was on gang heads, we found he took help from two men in Bareilly, UP, to make a fake passport which he used to fly to Dubai from Kolkata… It was also revealed that he would be paying close to Rs 40 lakh to enter US illegally.”
In January, police said Pahal escaped the country using the fake passport, with the name ‘Ravi Antil’, to evade multiple investigating agencies who were after him, and crossed at least five countries.
Pahal’s escape to Mexico started from Dubai, officials said. From there, he went to Almaty, Istanbul, Panama City and finally to El Salvador. From El Salvador, his associates helped him reach Cancún.
Dhaliwal said extensive searches, both technical and manual, were made with the help of the Office of the Legal Attaché, US Embassy, and Mexico Police and Pahal’s location was traced to Cancún.
“We sent two of our officers to Mexico who were in touch with the FBI and Mexico Police. Pahal wanted to go to the US with the help of human traffickers, where he would join his other associates and run his gang in Delhi and other states. One of his associates, Deepak Dahiya, was helping him from California…,” added Dhaliwal.
Police found that Pahal had arrived in Mexico three weeks ago, adding that the officials requested the Mexican administration to deport him.
“The two officers coordinated with the international agencies and apprehended Pahal from a hotel. He is being brought to New Delhi via Istanbul. We have already arrested the two men who helped him with the fake passport. We are questioning him on his whereabouts from January to April,” said police.
Rise and fall
Pahal (27) was first arrested by the Crime Branch in 2016 after he allegedly helped free Jitender Gogi from police custody and committed robbery in Paschim Vihar. He got out on bail in 2018 and was allegedly involved in more than 10 murder and extortion cases. Police booked him under the MCOC Act in 2018 but he was never caught again.
In August 2022, Amit Gupta (48), a builder and realtor, was shot dead by two assailants in Civil Lines. Two jailed gangsters from the Gogi gang were arrested along with an assailant in the case the next month. Investigation revealed Pahal “planned the murder to take revenge” as Gupta allegedly had links with rival Tillu Tajpuria gang.
In September that year, Pahal posted a message on social media taking responsibility for the murder. Police suspect he later fled to Himachal Pradesh and went to Meerut and Bareilly to get the fake passport.
“He was always in touch with his associates. Sometimes, he was in Maharashtra and other times in hiding in Himachal Pradesh or Uttar Pradesh. In 2021, he became famous after he helped gangster Kuldeep Mann alias Fajja escape. The men had planned the escape for months. They threw chilli powder at police and managed to take Fajja away,” said an officer.
In January, when Pahal fled from the country, the Special Cell traced another accused in the Gupta murder case, Ankit Gulia, who was later arrested. “The gang suspected Gupta had links with the Tillu gang and helped leak information about Fajja’s whereabouts to police in 2021. This led to his encounter,” said an officer.
After fleeing, Pahal instructed Gulia and others to extort money from a Punjabi Bagh jeweller. They were arrested by the Special Cell in February. “During interrogation, officers found Deepak was not in India and was leading his gang from Mexico,” said an officer.