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Gangs, Rivalries And Revenge Plots: The Rise And Fall Of Tillu Tajpuriya

On May 2, Tillu Tajpuriya was killed by members of the rival Gogi gang, allegedly to avenge the murder of their leader Jitender Gogi inside a courtroom in 2021.

Rohini court shootout accused Tillu Tajpuriya
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A horrifying video was circulated on social media of a stout-looking jail inmate, unconscious, being kicked and dragged by four co-inmates inside Delhi’s Tihar Jail while a group of men in khaki uniforms stood there and watched. That man was Sunil Balyan, alias Tillu Tajpuria, the notorious gangster and history-sheeter, also accused in the gruesome killing of his arch-nemesis Gogi inside Rohini court in 2021.

Born to a modest family in Tajpur Kalan in Uttar Pradesh’s Alipur, Sunil Balyan, or Tillu Tajpuria as he is known in his village, is said to have been involved in criminal activities from a very young age. According to reports, his father was a former employee of the Delhi Municipal Corporation, and he had an elder brother who used to be a driver for Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) until he also got fired over Tillu's criminal activities.

Tajpuria grew up in Akhadas (wrestling arenas) and wanted to become a professional wrestler. He even participated in a few wrestling tournaments. He had trigger-happy behaviour and was undoubtedly aggressive, which soon became the reason for his entanglement in gang rivalries.

Making Of A Gangster

From a very early age, Tillu Tajpuria was involved in local gang activities in the area and he went on to become a powerful figure in the criminal underworld of western Uttar Pradesh. Over the course of his criminal history, Balyan has been arrested more than 14 times in connection with various heinous crimes, including murder, robbery, dacoity, extortion, attack on a public servant and violations of the Arms Acts for illegal arms possession.

In 2003, he was arrested for the murder of a property dealer in Delhi. In 2011, he was arrested for his alleged involvement in the murder of a businessman. Over time, he gained a reputation as a ruthless and feared gangster.

In 2015, he killed a teacher in Haryana who had testified as a witness in another murder. The next year, Tajpuria and his associates fired at a man in Delhi’s Rohini over protection money. In between these cases, too, he has been arrested on several cases of extortion and intimidation.

He also reportedly shot dead a close aide, Deepak alias Raju, who, Tajpuriya had a whiff, was in a relationship with his cousin and was flaunting himself as ‘damaa (brother-in-law) of Alipur’.

The media coverage of his alleged criminal activities are have further contributed to his notoriety and infamy. Even when he was jailed, he ran his gang operations smoothly from inside his cell.

Association With Gogi Gang

It was during his college days, according to a report by The Indian Express, he met Jitender Maan alias Gogi. Friends first, their brotherhood fell apart during student union elections in Delhi’s Swami Shraddhanand College as they were supporting different candidates from their native villages. Soon, they went on to lead their individual gangs. The two men and their gang members targeted each other in the name of area dominance, leading to violent rivalries and bloodbaths. 

Tajpuriya, who was the leader of the Tillu gang, was also reportedly associated with the Kala Asauda gang, which has been involved in a long-standing rivalry with Jitender Gogi’s gang. It is also suspected that the 33-year-old’s killing may have been a result of the turf war between the two gangs.

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Tajpuriya was accused as the mastermind behind the infamous killing of gangster Jitender Gogi inside the Rohini court complex in Delhi during a hearing in September of 2021. Tajpuriya was in touch with his associates over VoIP call directing them on how to execute the plan, police had said.

Two gunmen in lawyers’ attire had fired gunshots at Gogi within minutes of his entering the court premises. The gunmen, shot dead by the police on the spot, were later revealed as members of the Tillu gang. 

The shooting further escalated the rivalry between Jitender Gogi's gang and the Tillu gang. Months after Gogi’s killing, the police investigation revealed that Tajpuria’s associate, Shekhar Rana alias Sannata, was murdered in a plan hatched inside the Tihar jail premises.

Eye For An Eye, Murder For A Murder

On May 2, Tillu Tajpuriya was killed by members of the rival Gogi gang. The attackers had allegedly plotted Tajpuriya's killing to avenge the murder of their leader Jitender Gogi in broad daylight in 2021.

The attackers – identified as Yogesh Tunda, Deepak Teetar, Riyaj Khan and Rajesh – reportedly broke the iron grills of their ward on the first floor of the prison, used bedsheets as ropes to climb down to the ground floor of the high-risk ward where Tajpuriya was lodged. He was stabbed to death with blades from an exhaust fan's iron parts. 

The video doing rounds on the internet showed that Tajpuriya attempted to shield his face, but his attackers overpowered him and forcibly removed him from his cell. The gangster's body had close to 100 injury marks, according to reports. 

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He was still alive and was being carried away by the prison security personnel when the accused attacked him for the second time. Security personnel remained mute spectators while the assailants kept beating him up, the video showed.

Tajpuria was brought into the hospital in an unconscious state and was pronounced dead around 6.30 AM.

Seven personnel of the Tamil Nadu Special Police (TNSP), who were on duty, have been suspended and transferred to Tamil Nadu, according to jail officials. A probe has been launched to find out more details about the murder.

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