Gangs of Purvanchal

Gangs of Purvanchal

With over 50 criminal cases registered against him, Ansari is by far the most dreaded name in Purvanchal.

Ansari is accused of killing BJP legislator Krishnanand Rai

Mukhtar Ansari

With over 50 criminal cases registered against him, Ansari is by far the most dreaded name in Purvanchal. A successful politician, Ansari has been elected five times from the Mau Assembly constituency. His first victory came in 1996 when he fought on a BSP ticket. Ansari hails from a family of freedom fighters and communist politicians. His name came up in a murder case for the first time in 1988. Ansari’s rivalry with fellow mafia don Brijesh Singh has led to many violent shootouts between their gangs. He is accused of the 2005 murder of BJP legislator Krishnanand Rai for which he remains in prison.

Brijesh Singh

Born to a wealthy family in Varanasi, Singh is said to have got into crime to avenge the death of his father. He soon joined hands with mafia gangs in Varanasi. His attempt to bag coal and railway contracts pitted him against Ansari. As many as 39 cases have been registered against Singh across various states. Lodged in jail since 2008, he pursued a political career that brought him close to the BJP. He is currently a Member of Legislative Council from Varanasi.

Dhananjay Singh

His rise is credited to the absence of Brijesh Singh from Varanasi during the late 1990s. After he was elected as an independent MLA from Rarhi in Jaunpur in 2002, he later joined the SP and then the BSP, of which he became MLA. He also won the 2009 Lok Sabha election on a BSP ticket after his rival candidate died on the eve of the polls. He was later named as an accused in a double murder case and expelled from the party. In 2013, Singh was arrested along with his former wife, Jagriti, for the murder of their maid at his official residence in New Delhi. The two are now out on bail.

Ateeq Ahmed


Ahmed exercises considerable influence over Allahabad. He was elected from Phulpur Lok Sabha constituency in 2004. He, however, lost from Shrawasti in the 2014 elections. According to his election affidavit, he has 42 cases pending against him, including six of murder and six of attempt to murder. He is accused of murdering BSP MLA Raju Pal, who had defeated his brother in the 2004 polls.

Harishankar Tiwari

Having picked up the gun in the 70s, Tiwari was elected MLA from Chillupur six times. He was a Cabinet minister in both the Kalyan Singh and Mulayam Singh Yadav governments. He has nearly 26 cases registered against him including of murder and attempt to murder.