BHOPAL: Four days after the Madhya Pradesh police claimed to have gunned down two dreaded inter-state dacoits – Babuli Kol and Lavlesh Kol – in an encounter in jungles of Satna district of MP, the police claims seem to be under a cloud now.
In a significant development which has given a new twist to the September 15 night reported the killing of the dreaded duo in an encounter with MP Police, a surviving member of the Babuli Kol-headed gang has claimed that the gang leader and his close aide were gunned down by him over share in ransom money.
Sohan Kol alias Raja Bhaiya, a key member of the Babuli Kol-led inter-state gang was arrested from the Kalyanpur jungles in Manikpur area of Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.
The UP police team, which arrested the dacoit who carried Rs one lakh reward on the head, also seized from him three rifles, including two American Springfield semi-automatic rifles and a .315 bore factory-made rifle along with around 100 live cartridges.
The arrested dacoit Sohan Kol, meanwhile, claimed before the media on Thursday that it was he who had gunned down gang-leader Babuli Kol and aide Lavlesh Kol. “Babuli Kol was weaponless, while Lavlesh Kol was armed with a rifle. I picked one of the rifles and killed Lavlesh first and then gunned down weaponless Babuli too in a similar fashion,” Sohan claimed before journalists in UP’s Chitrakoot district after his arrest on Thursday evening.
He further claimed, “When entire episode happened there were six members of the gang present in the jungles, including me, Chota Bhaiya, Sanjay, Babuli Kol, Lavlesh Kol and Laali Kol. I killed gang-leader Babuli and Lavlesh because they neither allowed me to visit my family nor was I given share in ransom money.”
The arrested dacoit further claimed while Babuli and Lavlesh were killed, he (Sohan), Sanjay and Chota Bhaiya fled from the spot with the weapons, while Lali could have fled to MP and revealed entire episode to contacts in MP.
Informed sources claimed one of the gang members Lali (whose relative is said to be police personnel) is believed to have disclosed the entire incident to MP police.
Reacting to the arrested dacoit’s sensational claims about him and not MP police having killed the two dreaded dacoits, the MP Police official spokesperson and IPS officer AP Singh said in Bhopal that “you can see what the UP police have mentioned in its press note about Sohan Kol’s arrest on Thursday. We don’t react to claims of dacoits.”
Importantly, in the UP police press note on Thursday, it has been mentioned that Babuli Kol and Lavlesh Kol were killed by MP police in an encounter on September 15 night in Dharkundi police station area of MP’s Satna district.
When contacted by The New Indian Express, DIG-Chitrakoot Range in UP, Deepak Kumar refused to comment over the issue, saying “I won’t comment on claims of a dacoit. All I can say is that the jungles of Chitrakoot and neighbourhood are now free from dacoits.”
However, sources privy to entire development confided that there is a possibility of the two dreaded dacoits having been killed in an internal gang war over the distribution of ransom money. The gang had split into two parts internally, gang-leader Babuli Kol, Lali Kol and Lavlesh Kol on one side and Sanjay, Sohan Kol and Chota Bhaiya on the other side over the issue of sharing Rs 5 lakh ransom money taken by the gang for releasing a farmer Avdhesh Dwivedi kidnapped two weeks back from Harsed village of MP’s Satna district.
Also, the seizure of the two American Springfield semi-automatic rifles from the arrested dacoit Sohan Kol assumes significance as the two US-made rifles have been wielded traditionally by the gang leaders of the inter-state dacoit gangs which have been operating since decades in forests of Central UP and adjoining MP.
“Since decades, right since the days of dreaded dacoit Shiv Kumar alias Dadua, then the era of Ambika Patel alias Thokia, ensued by the gang led by Sudesh Patel alias Balkhadia and lastly the gang led by Babuli Kol, it’s the gang leader who has wielded the US made Springfield Rifles as symbol of gang leadership. Sanjay, Chota Bhaiya and Sohan escaped with these rifles after Babuli and Lavlesh’s end possibly in a bid to regroup soon and form the gang again,” said an informed source.
Importantly, the two dreaded dacoits, Babuli Kol who carried Rs 6.5 lakh reward on the head and his close aide Lavlesh Kol, who carried a reward of Rs 1.80 lakh on the head were gunned down in jungles of MP’s Dharkundi area on MP-UP border reportedly on September 15 night. The duo along with other gang members was wanted in over 100 criminal cases of extortion, kidnapping and murders in both MP and UP.