Mafia don Prem Prakash Singh, alias Munna Bajrangi, was allegedly shot dead by another gangster inside a jail in Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat town on Monday, hours before he was to be produced in a local court in a case of extorting money from a former Bahujan Samaj Party legislator, police said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath termed the killing of 51-year-old Bajrangi, who was listed as an accused in 40 criminal cases, including those of murder and extortion, as "serious" and ordered a probe.
Hours after the sensational killing, police claimed to have recovered the "murder weapon".
"The pistol used in the murder was recovered from a drain," additional director general, law and order, Anand Kumar said.
As many as 10 used cartridges, two magazines and 22 live cartridges have been recovered, he added.
"Three probes -- by jail authorities, a magisterial inquiry and a judicial inquiry -- are going on in the matter," deputy inspector general, law and order, Praveen Kumar told reporters in Lucknow, adding that an FIR in the matter was registered by jail authorities.
He said ten empty shells of a .762 bore weapon and some live cartridges were recovered from inside the district jail.
Bajrangi was transferred with full security from Jhansi to Baghpat jail on Sunday and was to be produced in a local court on Monday in a case of demanding extortion money from former BSP MLA Lokesh Dixit in 2017, Kumar said.
Bajrangi was allegedly killed by Sunil Rathi, who is also a gangster and had been in Baghpat Jail since July 31 last year, officials said.
Rathi was taken into custody and interrogated.
Bajrangi was kept in a cell with 10 other inmates, including Rathi, said additional director general, prisons, Chandra Prakash.
"Rathi shot Bajrangi after they got into an altercation this morning inside the jail," Prakash said.
"More than one shot was fired. After the incident, Rathi threw the weapon in a sewer. We are probing how the weapon reached the jail," added Baghpat superintendent of police Jaiprakash.
Four jail officials -- jailor Udai Pratap Singh, deputy jailor Shivaji Yadav, head warden Arjinder Singh and warden Madhav Kumar -- were suspended.
Bajrangi's wife Seema Singh, who had called a press conference 10 days ago on June 29 to allege that her husband's life was in danger, has demanded a CBI probe.
"I want to tell UP Chief Minister Adityanathji that a conspiracy is being hatched to kill him in a fake encounter," Seema had told reporters in Lucknow on June 29.
Bajrangi was also named, along with BSP MLA Mukhtar Ansari, in the killing of former Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Krishnanand Rai in 2005.
"It is divine justice. I am happy," Rai's wife Alka Rai told reporters after news of Bajrangi's killing came in.
Bajrangi had unsuccessfully contested the 2012 assembly polls from Madiyahu seat in Jaunpur on an Apna Dal ticket.
In March 2016, his brother-in-law Pushpjeet, who looked after his business, was shot dead in Vikas Nagar colony of Lucknow and his close associate Tariq was shot at in Lucknow in December last year.
As a teenager, Bajrangi is believed to have developed an affinity for arms and entered the world of crime at an early age.
The first case against him -- for fighting and possessing illegal arms -- was filed when he was just 17.
He carried out his first major crime in 1984 after he killed a businessman. Bajrangi also murdered BJP leader Ramchandra Singh, police officials said.
Bajrangi, who was also known as mafia-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari's right hand, had joined Ansari's gang in the 90s, they said.