The murder was allegedly carried out by four members of slain gangster Jitender Gogi‘s gang early Tuesday morning. Gogi had been killed by Tajpuria’s shooters at the Rohini court complex in 2021.
Fugitive Goldy Brar – whom the Canadian government has put on its list of 25 most wanted persons – claimed responsibility for the killing on Facebook. Brar and Bishnoi had joined hands with the Gogi gang in 2020-21 to share resources and manpower.
In the unprecedented incident that again puts the spotlight on the state of affairs in Tihar, Tajpuria was stabbed over 100 times with improvised ‘sua’ (weapon resembling an awl) around 6.15am. The frenzied men didn’t stop even after Tajpuria was dead and covered with a bedsheet by security personnel.
Tajpuria had been shifted to Tihar just two weeks ago from Mandoli jail. The attackers were strangely lodged on the first floor of the ward. The assailants – Yogesh Tunda, Deepak Teetar, Riyaz Khan and Rajesh Bawania – cut open the security grilles, and then in a scene straight out of the movies, they used bedsheets to rappel down from the first floor.
From a rift in DU polls to over 30 killings, a history of violence
What started off as a petty fight during students’ union elections at Delhi University’s Shraddhanand College spiralled into bitter gang feud spanning over a decade. After 25-30 murders and attempted murders, including those of innocent bystanders and onlookers, the fierce rivalry appeared to reach its culmination with Sunil Tillu Tajpuria‘s death in Tihar Jail on Tuesday.
As students, Tajpuria and his bitter rival, Jitender Gogi, were supporting opposing candidates in the 2010 polls. The bitterness resulted in Gogi and his friends murdering Tajpuria’s friend, Deepak, post the elections after accusing him of harassing Gogi’s cousin sister. In retaliation, Tajpuria shot dead Gogi’s friend, Arun Commando, in 2015. This triggered an all-out gang war.
Gogi went on to kill Tajpuria’s associate Ravi Bhardwaj and folk singer Harshita Dahiya, who had witnessed a murder in which his aide Dinesh Karala stood accused. Tajpuria hit back and sent a juvenile shooter to kill Karala at the Tis Hazari Courts, though the latter had a narrow escape. Over two dozen incidents of this type took place in quick succession.
Gogi was arrested around this time, but fled from custody in 2016, and the murders continued. In March 2020, Gogi was nabbed with two of his associates, Kuldeep Fajja and Rohit Moi, in a dramatic manner at a flat in Gurgaon. With the cops standing outside the flat, Gogi released a video announcing his “surrender” to police.
A year later in March 2021, Fajja managed to flee when he was being taken to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital. He was, however, killed in an encounter three days later.
Six months later in September, Tajpuria gathered his shooters and gunned down his arch adversary in the Rohini Court in September. The shooters were also killed by police in retaliatory firing and Tajpuria, who orchestrated the entire operation from jail, was arrested in the case.
Gogi’s gang seemed to have suffered a serious setback with the leader’s death. But the group quickly bounced back with Gogi’s Man Friday, Deepak Pahal ‘Boxer’, taking the reins of the gang. While Boxer operated from outside, his henchmen Yogesh Tunda, Moi and Karala handled issues inside jail.
Before his death, Gogi had forged an alliance with Lawrence Bishnoi’s syndicate. The relationship continued even after his death and the gang revived itself from the damage caused by Gogi’s death. With the wealth accruing from extortion and shooting at of businessmen in the city, the gang bought more weapons, including Turkish Zigana pistols.
Meanwhile, the police heat on Boxer increased after which he fled the country in January this year. He reached Mexico but was apprehended and brought back in early April by Delhi Police’s Special Cell. Boxer, who is now in police custody, got his gang international exposure and this, the cops believe, empowered his henchmen and emboldened them. In a few days’ time, Boxer would have returned to jail at the end of his police remand and could have become the next target for the Tajpuria gang. The Gogi gangsters, it seems, understood the gravity of the situation and thus decided to strike when Tajpuria returned to Tihar last week from Mandoli Jail.
The scale has now tipped in the Gogi gang’s favour, though a hit from Tajpuria’s side can’t be ruled out. It is expected that the Gogi gang will continue to be on the offensive and try to target Tajpuria’s associates such as Naveen Bali, Neeraj Bawana and Rahul Kala. “This will help them have complete dominance of the turf in Delhi and Haryana. The Gogi faction is getting strong support from the Kala Jathedi and Bishnoi-Brar groups,” said an investigator who tracks the capital’s gangs.
In the absence of a Tajpuria protege to offer strong resistance, the Gogi gang has the upper hand with Boxer at the helm and with a helping hand from the Lawrence Bishnoi syndicate. Police officers said it was imperative that these criminals are adequately segregated in jail. They want those from other states to be sent out of the capital with the assent of the judiciary.