Father of jailed Delhi gangster shot dead, fear of gang war looms
Unidentified gunmen shot dead the 74-year-old father of gangster Manjeet Mahal outside his home in west Delhi on Sunday, a murder that police fear could trigger a gang war.
Shri Kishan was out to buy vegetables in the morning in Najafgarh’s Mitron village when a group of at least five men in a Scorpio fired around 20 shots at him. Multiple bullets hit the elderly man’s head and chest, killing him instantly.
The incident was caught on half-a-dozen surveillance cameras installed at the entry gate and front wall of the house, which is rigged with modern home security systems.
A senior police officer expressed confidence that the footage will lead investigators to the assailants.
Mahal is in Tihar jail after Delhi Police arrested him on December 8 for allegedly masterminding the murder of former Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) legislator Bharat Singh in March 2015.
He was on the run for almost two years. The fugitive eluded the police net despite more than a hundred raids to capture him.
The needle of suspicion, according to police, in Sunday’s murder point to Bharat Singh’s elder brother Krishan Pehalwan and a gang led by Suraj Bhan, whose friend Sunil alias Doctor was allegedly killed by Mahal a year ago.
“Yes, their role is being investigated,” deputy commissioner of police Rishi Pal acknowledged.
There are fears that Mahal’s associates could seek revenge. Mitron village is known for its long history of gang wars that have left more than 50 people dead. The killings had subsided a bit after the legislator’s murder.
Pehalwan, a gangster-turned-politician, denied having any role in Sunday’s incident.
“I was home with my police security and heard the news from others. The person who died is neither my enemy nor do I consider him to be one. I am busy with the municipal elections. I am available if police want to interrogate me. There is nothing to hide,” he said.
Pehalwan, who is an INLD councillor with the municipal corporation, was arrested last March for the murder of two private security officers at his Najafgarh farmhouse. He allegedly told his aides to lock the farmhouse, get rid of the bodies and destroy evidence.
Mahal’s father has no criminal background or case against him.
He opened the iron gates of his home and steeped out after hearing the door bell around 11am.
“It was a vegetable vendor, who brings his cart every few days. We have no reason to suspect him,” said the slain man’s younger brother, Dalbir Singh.
As soon as the vendor walked away with his cart after Kishan bought his veggies, a white Scorpio came near and two men got down. They immediately starting firing and drove away unchallenged after their target slumped to the ground.
“We rushed out when we heard several rounds of gunshots and found Kishanji bleeding and motionless. The killers had sped away, so we focused on shifting him to a hospital,” Singh said.