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The Gangs of Gurgaon
Nov 2015: Escalation of violence
The Times of India, Nov 14 2015
Rao Jaswant Singh & Sanjay Yadav
Churning in gangland triggers spate of street wars in Ggn
The sudden explosion of gang violence in Gurgaon is a consequence of an upheaval in the Millennium City's version of the underworld, which is witnessing a realignment of forces as friends and foes change positions in the battle for supremacy . Used as a metaphor for the good life, and well on the road to becoming one of India's biggest corporate bases, Gurgaon, like any other city , has a dark side to it, festering in the shadows of its towering buildings and fed by the same express growth that has driven up the sweepstakes sharply in the universe of the unlawful.
Fighting for control of this growing illegal business -primary property deals and extortion and gambling rackets that, police believe, runs into hundreds of crores by conservative estimates -are six gangs. At the head of this pack is Sandeep Gadoli, currently Gurgaon Police's most wanted man, whose gang has a stranglehold on this illegal business.
Gadoli's group, with 32 members, is Gurgaon's biggest organised gang, according to police sources, but two rival gangs have come together to challenge him -one led by Binder Gujjar and the other by Mahesh Attack.
This new rivalry has played out brazenly on the streets since July, when a gangster was targeted on MG Road in morning rush hour, in full view of shell shocked people. In October, the driver of Gujjar's car was shot. Within hours, Manish Khurana, an aide of Gadoli, was shot at but he managed to survive the attack.
Then on the night before Diwali, property dealer Raju Sethi was shot dead inside a petrol pump. Sethi, according to sources, was an associate of Gadoli, and had a bust-up with Gujjar a few months ago.
A police officer said control of illegal businesses was the big pie the gangs wanted a share of. “If a gang runs an illegal business, other gangs will threaten it to get a share or capture the business entirely , leading to rivalries,“ he said.
Officially, though, police deny that the city is in the throes of a gang war. “We are keeping a tab on all those with criminal backgrounds or gang associations. There is currently nothing likes a gang war but we are still keeping all on the radar forewarned,“ said said Ved Prakash Godara, DCP (crime),.
Police sources said they expected more violent confrontations between the two gangs, raising a huge security question in a city where law-enforcement suffers from a perpetual manpower crunch. The question is, even if police want to go after the gangs, do they have the resources to do it? According to police statistics, over the last few years, some of Gurgaon's older gangs have been put out of business by newer outfits. Outfits like the Fauji gang have turned dormant because either their leaders have died, like in the Fauji gang's case, or most members are behind bars. Some have moved on to politics and the real estate business.
The Fauji gang, led by Bunty alias Fauji, was Gurgaon's first organized gang and was formed in 1995. An advocate, Bunty was a resident of Teekli village on Sohna Road. A rival gang cropped up soon, led by Jharsa resident Rajje. The first gang war that took place in the city was at Jharsa bandh in 1996 in which Fauji killed Rajje. After the death of Rajje, his wife Sangeeta took the reins of the gang and was involved in more than seven murder cases, earning notoriety as the first woman gangster of Gurgaon. A sharpshooter herself, she was killed in a gang war.
In the subsequent years, several other outfits were formed, like the Sunil Takla gang, Dharambeer Ullahwas gang, Sudesh alias Chailu gang, Kuldeep alias Neetu Gahlot gang, and Raju Langda gang. There was also one that called itself `D Company'. It was formed in 1998 under by Dilip, a resident of Badshapur and a sacked Delhi Police constable. The gang was primarily into extortions --it would call industrialists, doctors, jewellers and demand money in return of their safety .
The gang was involved in the murder of the owner of S S Jewellers in Old Gurgaon in the late 90s. However, the gang fell apart after Dilip was arrested in 2001. Though Dilip is no longer in custody , police sources believe he is not associated with any gang any more.
White collar crime
Guess what keeps the courts busiest in Gurgaon? It's cheque bounce. The problem is so acute in this corporate hub that four of its 44 courts are disposing of only cheque bounce cases.
There are 65,000 cases pending across Gurgaon's district courts. Of these, well over 19,000 are cheque bounce cases. Law officers attribute this worrying trend to the presence of a large number of financial companies and corporate houses in the city.
Half of the global Fortune 500 companies have offices in Gurgaon while thousands of MNCs are based out of here. On an average, around 1,500 new cases of cheque bounce reach the courts every month, nearly 1,400 of which are filed by financial firms.At times, hundreds of such cases are filed on a single day. There are thousands of Indian and multinational companies based out of the millennium city .
“Cases filed on cheque bouncing constitute about a third of the total litigations before courts in Gurgaon. It is mainly because the district has offices of many financial institutions and corporate houses,“ said district and sessions judge Harnam Singh Thakur. There have been instances when hundreds of cases pertaining to cheque bounce were filed in a single day , he added.
Rajiv Kaushik, a member of the district bar association, said new rules allow a complainant to file a cheque bounce case at the place where the complainant's office is located. “Gurgaon is host to many financial institutions, so they all file their cases of cheque bounce here,“ he explained.And with the number of corporate offices coming up in Gurgaon on the rise, the number of such cases is also likely to increase in the coming years.
Vishal Dubey , a senior official with an international financial institution, said che que bounce cases arise mainly in cases of loan repayments.Customers are generally required to write cheques for payment of EMIs in advance, which often bounce at the time of withdrawal because of insufficient balance in the account, forcing banks or financial houses to take legal recourse. “On some occasions, several dozen cases of a single company are listed for hearing on a single day,“ Dubey added.
President of the district bar association, Sudesh Yadav said rules require a complaint to be filed within a stipulated time from the date of a cheque bouncing. “One cannot claim the money if the matter is not reported within the deadline.Understandably , banks, firms or individuals rush to lodge a complaint whenever a cheque bounces. However, many cases are resolved through mediation in out-of-court settlements,“ he said.
Experts claim this trend has both its advantages and disadvantages. While increasing cheque bounce cases mount pressure on an already overburdened judiciary , financial crimes have provided a boost to the careers of many a practising lawyer.