More than a week before Purvanchal gangster Munna Bajrangi was murdered in a Baghpat jail on Monday, his wife Seema Singh had alleged that the Uttar Pradesh police along with some political leaders and officials were conspiring to get him ‘eliminated’ outside the jail in a ‘fake encounter.’ She had requested Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to step up her husband’s security.“The officials of the U.P. STF, U.P. police and some influential ‘safedposh’ people are part of the conspiracy. My husband’s life is under threat,” Ms. Singh told journalists at the Lucknow Press Club on June 29.Ms. Singh also said that during his stay at Jhansi jail there had been an attempt to poison him. While on Monday she was not available for comment and Bajrangi’s brother and nephew had their phones switched off, his lawyer Vikas Shrivastava, who was in Baghpat, echoed Ms. Singh’s theory. “It is a planned murder and done by the administration. Some politicians and criminals are behind it,” he alleged.In March 2016, Bajrangi’s brother-in-law Pushpjeet Singh, a lawyer who even pursued his legal cases, along with a friend was gunned down by unidentified assailants in Lucknow. This followed the murder of Bajrangi’s close aide Mohammad Tariq last year. A native of Puredayal village in Jaunpur district, Munna Bajrangi was born into a Thakur family as Prem Prakash Singh. After dropping out in class 5, he soon discovered his fascination for weapons and as per people who knew him, aspired to become a “filmy don.” He was barely 17 when he was arrested for possessing illegal arms. “After he came out of jail, he got involved with a local mafia don called Gajraj Singh and started working for him. On Gajraj’s call, he committed a couple of murders early on [first he murdered a local businessman in Jaunpur followed by the killing of a BJP leader]. He aspired to be a gangster,” said a distant relative of Bajrangi, requesting anonymity.In the 1990s, Bajrangi, who had by then become a notorious figure in Purvanchal with his extortions and murder cases, started working with jailed MLA from Mau and alleged gangster Mukhtar Ansari. In 1998, he even miraculously survived an encounter by the Delhi police.In 2005, he was accused of executing the brutal and sensational murder of former BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai at the behest of Ansari, who is still facing trial in the case. Around 400 bullets were fired at the MLA’s convoy by the assailants armed with AK47 rifles. The murder was allegedly a retaliation in the rivalry between Mr. Ansari and another Purvanchal gangster Brijesh Singh, with whom Rai was associated. The State had then declared a bounty of ₹7 lakh on Bajrangi, who was arrested in Mumbai in 2009. He faced over two dozen criminal cases, including those for murder, attempt to murder, extortion and gangster activities. .Over the years, Bajrangi had also developed political ambition and in 2012, while he was lodged in jail, he contested the Assembly election from Mariyahu seat in Jaunpur as an Apna Dal candidate. Though he lost, he stood third with a respectable 21% vote share. In 2017, his wife Seema Singh contested from the same seat but unsuccessfully.UP ADG Jails, Chandra Prakash, said it was a “big lapse” on the part of the officials that a revolver had been sneaked in. While police are investigating the motive behind the murder, Mr. Prakash said the accused Rathi himself faced several criminal cases, most of them in Uttarakhand. Rathi, himself an alleged gangster, had been shifted to Baghpat jail recently.