From developing an affinity for arms since his teenage years to emerging as one of the dreaded gangsters, Prem Prakash Singh alias Munna Bajrangi was once feared by people and police alike. Having remained on the Uttar Pradesh Police’s most wanted list in the past, Bajrangi 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.
Bajrangi was shot dead allegedly by another gangster lodged in the district jail in Bhagpat on Monday following an altercation, the police said. He 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.
Born in 1967, the mafia don once carried a bounty of Rs 7 lakh on his head. Having dropped out of school after studying till Class 5, Bajrangi made his foray into the world of crime at an early age. The first case against him was lodged when he was only 17-year-old. He was named in the case for possessing illegal arms.
With the intention of making a mark in the world of the mafia, Bajrangi subsequently joined Gajraj Singh’s gang in Jaunpur. He committed his first major crime in 1984 by killing 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 MLA from Mau.
Bajrangi strengthened his presence in the world of crime after Ansari became a politician. His gang used to make money by obtaining government contracts.
The gangster kept changing his allegiance to political parties since he was on the state police’s most wanted list. However, Bajrangi’s rise as a dreaded gangster was curtailed after the shocking murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005.
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. In retaliation, 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.
In 2012, he decided to take a political plunge and contested the 2012 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls from Mariyahu in Jaunpur as an Apna Dal candidate while he was lodged in Tihar Jail in New Delhi. However, he 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.
With PTI inputs