Two undertrials were beaten to death in a moving police bus by fellow inmates while being brought back to Tihar jail from a court on Tuesday evening in second incident of gang violence in the city in three days.
Paras, alias Goldy, who leads the Neetu Dabodia gang, and his associate Pradeep, were strangled and beaten to death by gangster Neeraj Bawana and six of his men as their simmering rivalry boiled over once again.
“Paras and Pradeep were killed and five inmates were injured after a fight between two groups of inmates,” deputy commissioner of police (outer) Vikramjit Singh said. The men were being taken back to Tihar after proceedings in the Rohini court.
“We are surprised that members of rival gangs, with a history of violence, were being ferried in the same van,” DIG (prisons) Mukesh Prasad said. Jail officials also pointed out that Paras, 31, and Pradeep, 30, were clearly at a disadvantage and were outnumbered.
The gangs had travelled together in the past without any trouble, said the police, who ordered a probe into the incident.
Bawana, one of Delhi’s most notorious criminals who was arrested in April, had a long-running feud with the Dabodia gang of which he was a member once, sources said.
The two gangs, who top the list of crime in the city, have clashed on various occasions for control of extortion racket and land in outer, south-west and western Delhi.
At around 5pm, when the bus reached West Enclave Pitampura, 12 policemen escorting the “high-risk” inmates noticed a commotion in the second chamber of the vehicle in which the prisoners were seated.
Bawana and his men had overpowered Paras and Pradeep and were beating them mercilessly, sources said.
“We asked the police control room for security and parked the bus on a roadside to secure the vehicle in keeping with guidelines,” one of the officers in the van told HT.
Some locals gathered and asked them to open fire, he said. “Our van in-charge asked us to take the bus to the local Bhagwan Mahaveer hospital where we asked for security,” the officer said. The two men were declared dead at the hospital.
Police suspect that Tuesday’s violence was the fallout of the beating that the two men gave to Bawana in 2012 before he fled from Tihar.
A sharpshooter of the Dabodia gang, Paras was involved in more than 20 cases of murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping-cum-murder, extortion and robbery, police said. He had shot dead a head constable in November 2012.
He took over the gang after Neetu Dabodia, the then reigning don of Delhi, was killed in a gun fight with the police on October 26, 2013.
Pradeep, who had several cases of murder, extortion and robbery against him, had in April 2014 escaped a bid on his life in the Rohini court where 10 Bawana men managed to gain entry posing as litigants and lawyers. All of them were arrested.
Gang violence seems to be rising in the city. Early Sunday, a gangster was shot dead in a revenge killing by the members of a rival gang in south Delhi.