After he murdered Munna Bajrangi in Baghpat jail on July 9, Sunil Rathi allegedly challenged gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, with whom Bajrangi was associated. The Uttarakhand Police now fear this rivalry could result in a face-off between the Rathi gang and the Jeeva gang of Sanjeev Maheshwari alias Jeeva, an associate of Ansari and Bajrangi who operates in UP and Haridwar. Haridwar Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Krishna Kumar said, “We haven’t yet received any special input on a possible gang war in Haridwar. However, we’re on alert.”
The 36-year-old Rathi, who became active in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar and Roorkee regions in 2000, started with crimes such as robbery before graduating to extortion and murder. His first jail stint was in Haridwar in September 2001, after which he spent time in jails across the state till 2017. He allegedly ran his operations from inside, using phones and, in a few cases, reportedly a computer.
Rathi is facing lifetime imprisonment in two cases of murder — in Baghpat and of a Roorkee-based businessman, Naveen Jindal, reportedly over failure to pay extortion money. He is also facing trial in two other murder cases, three cases of the Gangster Act and four extortion cases. On November 11 last year, Rathi’s mother Rajbala, 61, was arrested from her house in Tikri village in Baghpat for allegedly trying to extort Rs 50 lakh from a Roorkee-based doctor. Rajbala is now out on bail.