With Dwarka shoot-out, reign of a desperate criminal comes to end

At 29, Vikas Dalal already had an official 11-year-old criminal history. As per police records, he was involved in seven cases of murder and was among the top 10 in the Delhi Police’s most wanted dossier.

A man who lived by the gun, Dalal was busy eliminating one of his rivals on a busy road in Delhi on Sunday when a police constable shot him dead. Residents reacted with horror to the amateur videos of the daring shootout in which Dalal could be seen raining bullets at one of his rival gang members sitting inside a car with the entire traffic halted behind it.

Senior police officers in Delhi Police’s crime branch, who have followed criminal gangs in Delhi, said Dalal had several brushes with death in the past too. Dalal was reportedly the main shooter of the dreaded Manjeet Mahal gang — one of the top gangs in Delhi. The gangster had at least four fan pages on Facebook and videos on the YouTube channel that show him during his court appearances. Police officers said Dalal’s fellow gang members shot such videos and shared them in order to spread his terror through social media. At the time of his death, the gangster carried a reward of ₹2 lakh for his arrest.

Besides his love for the social media, Dalal was known for his unique modus operandi to trap his rivals. He used to honeytrap those he wanted to target, said police officers.

Explaining how Dalal used women as bait for his rivals, a senior crime branch officer said, “On March 15, 2017, a man named Rahul Maan alias Rinku was shot dead in Gurugram sector 23 A. Maan, who was Dalal’s rival, had come out of prison only two months before the incident. We learned that a woman who had befriended Maan on WhatsApp had asked him out for a date. The woman had told Maan that it was her birthday and invited him to celebrate it with her. Maan had brought a cake, which police recovered in his car after his death.”

The officer said Dalal, who had hired the woman and asked her to befriend Maan, waited at a park in Gurugram. When the woman brought him there, Dalal shot Maan multiple times before fleeing the spot. Dalal, along with the woman, was later arrested by the Delhi police special cell.

Police say that Sunday’s shootout is one in a series of many murders that have taken place as a fallout of the rivalry between Dalal’s gang and the infamous Sangwan brothers — Jyoti and Kapil Sangwan, who also lead a criminal gang.

“The spree of murders started after Manjeet Mahal’s father was shot dead in January 2017,” said a police officer. Shri Kishan, father of Mahal, was out to buy vegetables in the morning in Najafgarh’s Mitraon village when a group of at least five men in a SUV fired around 20 shots at him.

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. Since then there have been at least 12 murders in the gang rivalry. Police said Dalal and his other associates have evaded police of Gurugram, Faridabad, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.

“It is ironical that Dalal died at the hands of a cop posted in PCR van. All these years, the best of encounter specialist cops have had a face-off with Dalal and he managed to escape. In April 2017, he had fired at Himachal Pradesh police officers and fled. Months later on June 3, 2017, he had fired at the Delhi police special cell officers to escape but he was captured. He had also fired at the Gurugram police in 2016 too,” an officer, who has been in pursuit of wanted criminal gangs in Delhi, explained how Dalal operated with impunity and was not afraid of even attacking the police.

“He may be involved in at least seven murders.He escaped death in his 19-year criminal career on several occasions but on Sunday, a constable posted on a regular duty, ended up shooting one of the most wanted Delhi gangsters ,” the officer said.

First Published:
May 21, 2019 06:26 IST

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