ONLY A year back, Dhani Ram Patel was among the respected gentry of Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh. Patel moved in red beacon-fitted vehicles guarded by hordes of security personnel.
But all that changed with the killing of dacoit Dadua in the Chitrakoot forests. With Dadua’s death, the police zeroed in on his men, prime among them being dreaded dacoit Ambika Patel alias Thokia.
It was during their routine meetings that Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh police officials determined Patel’s role in Thokia’s gang. Patel was found to be a fund manager, investing in various ventures for the dacoits.
Both the MP and the UP police have launched a massive hunt for Patel, who is a former Zila Panchayat chairman of Chhatarpur. Posters with his pictures have been pasted in all police stations in Banda and Chitrakoot. Madhya Pradesh government has announced a reward of Rs 15,000 on his head.
Sources say the Thokia gang’s annual income ran into crores. Dhani Ram purchased sophisticated firearms and invested the money in various projects to keep it multiplying.
“He is a hardcore criminal in the garb of a politician”, said DIG, Chitrakoot Range, Sri Ram Tripathi about Patel.