Udaiveer alias Kala, 42, one of Delhi’s top criminals who till last year featured in the city’s most wanted list, died at Tihar jail on Wednesday.
Jail authorities said Kala died of a heart attack but the police were probing if there was any foul play.
Kala, who was in jail for the murder of MLA Bharat Singh, was the elder brother of gangster-turned politician Krishan Pehalwan.
Pehalwan and Kala’s family have a bitter history of violence since 2002. Pehalwan’s gang had killed Kala’s father and his uncle.
Jail authorities said that around 12.20 pm, Kala was rushed to the jail hospital after he complained of uneasiness and difficulty in breathing. A Tihar spokesperson said jail doctors rushed him to the nearby DDU hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
Kala was lodged in a high security cell inside jail number 1. Police sources said they had asked DDU doctors to check if there was any foul play. Senior officers had been asked to monitor the case.
In October last year, Kala’s advocates -- fearing a threat to his life -- had approached the court requesting a video hearing of his case.
Kala was in jail since July 2015. His family stay only a block away from their rival Pehalwan’s house in Dichaon village in west Delhi’s Najafgarh.
Fearing attacks, the two families have installed CCTV cameras outside their homes.
Kala treated for heart problem’
Lodged in a high-security cell, Kala had over the past few months spend most of his time in the medical investigation room (jail hospital). Additional inspector general Mukesh Prasad said Kala was sent to hospital twice this month after he complained of heart problems.
“He was rushed to DDU and GB pant hospital on May 7 and May 9. The hospital authorities discharged him. There does not appear to be any foul play. His cell is secured and the jail hospital employees were there when he complained of uneasiness,” said Prasad.
Kala’s family had recently applied for bail on the grounds that he was suffering from heart problems.
Kala was last suspected to have planned the murder of MLA Bharat Singh’s bodyguard, Vipin Chaudhary. In December last year, Vipin -- an eye witness in a case in which Kala is an accused -- was shot five times in Rohini.
Police later arrested Kala’s associate Ravi Shokeen in connection with the case. Shokeen is learnt to have told police he had eliminated Vipin at the behest of Kala’s gang.
Vipin was honey-trapped and lured by a woman to a park in Rohini where he was shot five times.
Cops probe caused of death
Police said though prima facie jail records suggest Kala’s death to be natural, they were waiting for the post-mortem report.
“We are awaiting the post-mortem results. These gangs execute their enemies in mafia style so one needs to double check even natural deaths. A woman was used to honey-trap Vipin last time. We will check all possibilities in this case. We will check possibilities like poisoning or overdose of medicines, “said a senior police officer.
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered in this case.