NIA Whip on Gangsters: Operating from Tihar, Fan Base on Social Media, Street Wars

The notorious criminal gangs of Delhi are once again in focus as the NIA on Monday conducted raids in three states in connection with a narco-terrorism case originating in Punjab. Some of these gangs, such as the Lawrence Bishnoi and Goldy Brar gang, were also involved in the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala.

Last year, alleged gangster Jitender Gogi made headlines in the Rohini courtroom shootout case. While Gogi was gunned down, he left behind a gang that continues to be one of the prime movers-and-shakers in the organised crime scenario of the national capital region.

According to officials, these raids are being carried out in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and sites included residences of Goldy Brar and Jaggu Bhagwanpuria, who is another accused in the killing of Moosewala. The counter-terrorist task force is probing a case of the alleged involvement of gangs in Punjab in smuggling drugs from Pakistan and the money later being pumped into terror-related activities. Homes of other Delhi gangsters such as Neeraj Bawana and Sunil Maan were also raided.

It is being seen as a first step in a crackdown against “gang culture” in the NCR. While Delhi’s organised crime situation cannot be compared to Mumbai underworld of the 1990s, there are gangs that continue to operate within a robust network in Tihar jail, killing without fear and commanding a fan following on social media.

Here is a look at the five such gangs that are active in Delhi:

Lawrence Bishnoi and Goldy Brar

The prime accused in the murder case of popular Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala, Lawrence Bishnoi is one of the most notorious gangsters to have come out of Punjab. Behind bars at present and having been grilled in the Moosewala case, Bishnoi is known to operate even from jail through his close aides. A fine example would be Goldy Brar, an alias for Satinder Singh. A London-based aide of Bishnoi’s, he claimed to have killed Moosewala as a vengeance for the death of youth Akali leader and another Bishnoi aide Vicky Middukhera.

Brar also alleged that Moosewala was behind the murder of his brother Gurlal Brar, and that police did not take any action in the matter. He has also claimed that Moosewala was “working against” their gang.

Jitender Gogi

Recently in the headlines after he was gunned down during a shootout at a Rohini court last year, Jitender Maan alias Gogi had managed to evade police for years. Aged about 30, Gogi was linked to brutal gang battles, murders, robberies and extortion in Delhi and states across northern India. His tryst with crime and gang activity goes back to 2010, when he lost his father. A student at Delhi University’s Swami Shradhanand College back then, Gogi’s criminal background can be traced back to student politics. It was in DU that he met Kuldeep Maan alias Fajja, who would go on to become his right-hand man. His first arrest can be traced back to October 2011, after he and Fajja assaulted and shot at at two men during the student elections at Shradhanand College.

Kala Jathedi

Often known to work in alliance with Lawrence Bishnoi and even Gogi, Kala Jathedi gang is known to operate out of India, sometimes even in Dubai and Malaysia. No one knows how Jathedi town came to be associated with the name of a notorious criminal gang and after Sandeep alias Kala, a resident of Sonipat. According to police, Kala Jathedi became friends with some miscreants and, during that time, his expenses also increased. To meet those, he demanded money from his parents, but even then, when his expenses were not met, he resorted to petty crime such as snatching.

Neeraj Bawana

Neeraj Bawana was one of Delhi’s most wanted men till his arrest in 2015. But putting away Neeraj Bawana in isolation inside Delhi’s high-security Tihar jail hasn’t stopped Bawana or his gang. Bawana’s gang continues to carry out crimes such as extortion, robbery, contract killings and land grabbing. Bawana’s gang members also use social media to issue threats or share details of their gang’s activities. Bawana’s name cropped up in the murder of Delhi gangster Jitender Gogi, who was shot dead inside a courtroom in Rohini last year. A police officer said that Bawana and his gang members were known to call traders and demand what they called, Neeraj Tax. The extortion money ranged from ₹5 lakh to ₹1 crore. Before his arrest in 2015, Bawana was locked in a bitter turf war with a rival gang, gangster Nitu Dabodia who died in a police encounter in 2013. The two gangs fought for control of the extortion racket in outer Delhi areas such as Alipur, Bawana and Rohini, and the rivalry continued well after Dabodia’s death in 2013 In August 2015 when he was in prison, Bawana ordered the killing of two members of Dabodia gang. The two were killed in a prison van while returning to jail from a court hearing.

Sunil Maan alias Tillu Tajpuriya

Even while Tillu Tajpuriya was lodged in Delhi’s Mandoli jail, Maan planned and executed the murder of his rival, Jitender Gogi last year. The two men, who were once friends, were engaged in a bloody gang war that lasted over a decade and led to at least two dozen deaths. While jail officers shifted Tillu Tajpuriya to Tihar from the Mandoli jail complex, he continues to operate his gang from inside the jail.

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