New Delhi: Two undertrials were beaten to death in a clash between two gangs inside a moving van of Tihar jail on Tuesday.
The incident took place while they were brought back to Tihar jail from a court. This is the second incident of gang violence in the city in last three days.
The attack was led by jailed gangster, Neeraj Bawania, who was one of the inmates present in the vehicle, accompanied by his cousins Naveen Bhanja, Naveen Bali and Rahul.
The incident was reported around 4.30 pm. Nine prisoners were being escorted to the jail in the prison van by two police officials - an assistant sub-inspector and a constable (driver) - both posted at the Third Battalion of Delhi Police, after hearings at the Rohini Court, said a senior police official.
When the police officials escorting the vehicle saw the prisoners fight, they did not stop the van and sped towards the Mongolpuri area.
They finally stopped at Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital, where two of the prisoners - identified as Paras Goldy (30) and Pradip Bhola (32) - were declared dead on arrival.
According to the police, the accused men first beat up Goldy and Bhola. They then strangled the duo and hit their faces on the walls and floor of the prison van. When the duo collapsed, the accused men continued kicking them until the van stopped at the hospital.
"A case of murder was registered at the Mongolpuri police station," said Sanjay Singh, Joint Commissioner of Police (North).
The police are also probing the roles of the three other inmates - Dinesh, Sonu and Sunil - who were present in the prison van. Goldy and Pradip Bhola were members of the Neetu Dabodia gang, which allegedly operates from inside the Tihar premises despite their leader being killed in a police encounter in south Delhi nearly two years ago.
While Goldy was an alleged extortionist at Panipat in Haryana who had also allegedly shot dead a police constable there, Bhola was jailed on several criminal charges including murder and robbery, said an official.
"The incident may even lead to action against the police officials escorting the prisoners," said Vikramjeet Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer).
Dabodia and Bawania gangs are believed to be rivals, both involved in alleged extortion rackets.
Neeraj Bawania, who was arrested in April this year, is related to former lawmaker Rambir Shokeen.
Shokeen is also being hunted by Delhi Police for allegedly harbouring criminals like Bawania and use of muscle-men - sourced from Bawania's gang - during campaigns in the 2015 assembly elections, in which his wife had contested.
Around a fortnight ago, a Tihar inmate, lodged at the high-security ward of the prison premises was allegedly killed by four other inmates.
An internal inquiry was initiated after the incident, which led to the suspension of the jail warder concerned.