Crime: Dreaded gangster killed in encounter near Delhi
Gangster was staying in Mumbai for past seven months
Munna Bajrangi, a dreaded gangster carrying a reward of Rs.1 lakh for his arrest and suspected to be behind the sensational murder of Delhi Police 'encounter specialist' Assistant Commissioner of Police Rajbir Singh last year, was Thursday nabbed in Mumbai, an official said.
Bajrangi, who is also accused of gunning down Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Krishnanand Rai in November 2005, was arrested by sleuths of Delhi Police Special Cell in Mumbai's Malad area around 4.30 p.m.
He was staying there for the past seven months under his real name Prem Prakash Singh. Bajrangi, a close aide of mafia don Mukhtar Ansari, was wanted in at least 36 cases of murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion and the Arms Act. In 1996. He had allegedly murdered a BJP leader Ramachandra Singh in Jaunpur and in 2003, he murdered another BJP leader Anil Rai in Varanasi.
He was involved in a number of cases of drug trafficking and is said to have links with Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI.
"He is definitely a prized catch and our men are bringing him to Delhi. We will probe his role behind the killing of ACP Rajbir Singh," a senior Delhi Police officer told IANS.
ACP Rajbir Singh, who had over 50 "kills" to his credit, was shot dead in March 2008 in neighbouring Gurgaon in the office of his real estate friend Vijay Bhardwaj.
Bhardwaj, who claimed to be Singh's acquaintance of 20 years, confessed within hours of the incident that he had killed the policeman as the latter had been threatening him over financial deals.
As serious questions were raised on the probe carried out by the Haryana police, the case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The CBI in its investigation did not find any evidence against Bajrangi.
After three months of investigations, the country's premier investigation agency filed a chargesheet in the court of special judicial magistrate in Ambala against Bhardwaj, under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and section 25/27 of the Indian Arms Act.
However, an in-house and parallel inquiry conducted by the Delhi Police pointed towards Bajrangi.
His arrest is likely to open a can of worms for both the CBI and Delhi Police following differences in the result of their investigations.
"Our investigations have raised strong suspicions about Bajrangi. His movement was also traced in the surrounding areas of Gurgaon on the night Rajbir was killed," a senior police officer told IANS.
The officer said before his murder Singh, who cracked the cases of terror attacks on the Indian parliament in 2001 and the Red Fort in 2000, was working meticulously to again arrest Bajrangi.
Singh and his team had arrested Bajrangi after a fierce gun battle in September 1998. Bajrangi was critically injured in the shootout while his accomplice Yatinder Kumar was killed.
After the incident, Bajrangi's wife approached the high court alleging that it was a fake encounter and Singh wanted to eliminate her husband.
Sources said since then Bajrangi was harbouring hatred towards Singh.
"Singh, after being given charge of the Special Operations Squad (SOS) in the Crime Branch last year, had again started hot pursuit for Bajrangi. Bajrangi was under tremendous pressure and was frequently shifting his locations to evade his arrest," a source who worked with Singh said.