Businessmen in the city are heaving a sigh of relief after dreaded gangster Sandeep Gadoli was gunned down by the Gurgaon police in an encounter in Mumbai on Sunday.
Many prominent traders in Gurgaon were allegedly paying protection money to Gadoli’s gang and are happy that the threat has been eliminated. But they are also sceptical that the relief may be short-lived and some other gangster may soon rise to take Gadoli’s place.
“This is a huge relief. But you never know who will rise to take his place and start demanding money,” said a prominent city-based businessman.
Since 2006, around 10 cases of extortion were registered against Gadoli. But he was acquitted in all cases because none of the victims deposed in the court, ostensibly due to fear.
Last October, the Gurgaon police had seized six diaries from Gadoli’s house. The diaries exposed an alleged nexus between the police and the underworld in Gurgaon and the extortion racket being run in the city.
While one diary had entries of money paid to policemen another had entries of protection money collected from prominent businessmen in Old Gurgaon. Each of the businessmen had allegedly paid Gadoli Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh every month.
It was learnt that owners of several jewellery shops, restaurants and sweetmeat shops were paying Gadoli. According to the diary, owner of one of the most popular chain of sweetmeat shops paid `5 lakh every month. Some popular jewellers paid nearly Rs. 10 lakh to the gangster.
According to one of the seized diaries, the Gadoli gang paid money to police officers, from the level of constables to the rank of a deputy inspector general (DIG) in the Haryana police.
The diary mentioned that the DIG-rank officer was paid Rs. 18 lakh by the gangster in 2013. But no concrete action has been taken so far against the officials allegedly named in the diaries.
According to the police, the diaries also had records of Gadoli’s criminal activities. It had a record of the money received and spent by the gangster in the past 10 years and also the amount spent on buying weapons and cartridges, the police said.
In the recent past, the city witnessed incidents of shootouts between rival gangs and there was a fear that a full-fledged gang war may erupt in the city soon if Gadoli and his opponent Binder Gujjar were not captured or killed.
Sandeep Gadoli was wanted in more than 30 criminal cases in Delhi and NCR and carried a reward of Rs. 1.25 lakh for his arrest.