One of India’s most notorious gangsters has been shot dead in a Delhi courtroom after members of a rival gang disguised themselves in lawyers’ cloaks and opened fire.
The shooting took place as Jitendra Maan, alias “Gogi”, previously one of Delhi’s most wanted men, entered the court to face murder and extortion charges. Police returned fire, according to officials, killing two gunmen.
Gogi, 30, ran the infamous Jitendra Gogi gang, which has been accused over dozens of cases, including murder, kidnap, extortion and land grabbing. For years, he had also been embroiled in a bitter feud with another group, the Tillu Gang, a rivalry that had led to a number of deadly shootings, according to police.
The incident has raised serious concerns about the security measures in place in Delhi’s courts, with many questioning how the men were able to barge in to Delhi’s Rohini court complex carrying weapons.
Most court cases are still being heard virtually because of the coronavirus restrictions, and few people were present in the courtroom at the time of the shooting, a lawyer, Satyanarayan Sharma told AFP.
Sharma, who was attending the court for a different case, called for a thorough investigation into the lapse.
The New Delhi police commissioner, Rakesh Asthana, said officers escorting Gogi acted swiftly and killed the assailants. Video footage taken at the building shows police officers outside the courtroom bracing to respond as gunshots are heard. Three people were killed according to Indian media, while a lawyer was injured.
Security at the court, including whether metal detectors were functioning properly, was under investigation, Asthana said.
Gogi’s bitter rivalry with the Tillu gang – run by jailed leader Sunil Tajpuria, alias Tillu – seemingly dates back to their time as students at Delhi University. Gogi was apparently bitter that Tillu and his associates had beaten his friend in student elections in 2010, according to the Hindustan Times. Their dispute escalated in 2012 when Gogi’s gang allegedly shot one of Tillu’s friends, prompting years of warfare that has played out across the capital.
The two gangs went on to run extortion rackets across Delhi.
Gogi was arrested in March 2020 after escaping from police custody and eluding the police for four years. He had managed to flee while being taken to a court hearing in Haryana.
Gogi has been implicated in several high-profile murders, including the killing of Harshita Dahiya, a singer popular in Haryana state, in 2017. Gogi was accused of murdering Dahiya at the request of her brother-in-law, whom he had met in jail. In exchange, the brother-in-law had apparently agreed to help Gogi kill one of his opponents, according to the Indian Express.