Lucknow/Mumbai: There is a parallel administration in every state.
The gang war may have ended and guns fallen silent in the UP's badland, yet the gory tales of warlords who fought with each other for over two decades have acquired the status of folklore.
Even Dawood Ibrahim, who was was No 3 on the Forbes' World's Top 10 most-dreaded criminals list of 2011, was said to be scared of most these mafias when he was new to the underworld.
No wonder, the region earned the sobriquet of 'Chicago of the East' and 'Slice of Sicily'.
Here are the gory tales of warlords who fought to stamp their supremacy over each other:
Hari Shanker Tiwari: In the battle of supremacy, the two gangsters -- Hari Shanker Tiwari and Virendra Pratap Shahi -- and their aides executed approximately 50 murders. Shahi was shot dead in 1997 by a new kid on the block, who had a meteoric rise and equally brisk fall -- Sriprakash Shukla.
He wanted to stamp his supremacy over the two older ones, thus bringing an end to one of the longest gang wars. Tiwari is now in active politics for the past three decades. Tiwari even got a cabinet berth in governments headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav, Kalyan Singh and Mayawati.
Raja Bhaiyya: Raghuraj Pratap Singh, better known as Raja Bhaiyya, has been an MLA from Kunda since 1993. He was 26 when he won his political spurs, first proving his usefulness to his political masters in 1997 when he split the BSP to help form the BJP government in UP. A majority of MLAs who defected from BSP were thakurs.
In May 2002, Mayawati's BSP emerged as the single largest party and she formed the ministry that lasted a year. She had her revenge by booking him under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) after police found one AK-56 assault rifle, 36 cartridges, two wireless sets and 800 gm explosive from his palace in January 2003.
There were 44 criminal cases against him then, including extortion, land-grabbing (which included a lake owned by the government), misusing public property, and threatening public servants. He was packed off to jail by the Mayawati government.
His father, Udai Pratap Singh, and cousin, Akshay Pratap Singh, were also charged under POTA.
Brijesh Singh: A lesser known political party - Pragatisheel Manav Samaj Party (PMSP) - had fielded mafia don Brijesh Singh from Saiyyedraja assembly constituency in Chandauli district for 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. An absconder for over a decade, this dreaded mafia don was arrested in Orissa in 2008, where he was living under a different identity as a builder and running a real estate business.
Since then, he is lodged in jail and several criminal cases are pending against him in different courts of the country.
Mukhtar Ansari: A politician from Maunath Bhanjan or Mau in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Ansari is an unbeaten king in Purvanchal, Most recently, he won the Mau seat in the UP elections as a Quami Ekta Dal candidate for the record fourth time.
Ansari was perhaps the most celebrated of a group of Robinhood bosses who gained prominence in the 1990s. He is a grandson of former Congress President Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari, a leader of the Indian independence movement.
He was the man to see if you needed money for your daughter’s wedding (a crushing burden on poor families) or a government posting for your son. It’s said his influence kept the power flowing — and the electric looms running — in the textile-producing districts around Ghazipur & Mau when others endured extended blackouts. In the assembly, he and his opponents battled with rhetoric; on the street they fought with guns for control of lucrative government contracts.
Ansari was initially a member of the Makhanu Singh gang, which clashed with Sahib Singh's gang over Ghazipur's lucrative contract work mafia, estimated at more than Rs 200 crore a year. Eventually, Makhanu Singh killed Sahib Singh, resulting in brutal reprisals.
Ansari's main mafia activity is in coal mining, railway construction and scrap disposal, Public Works construction, The local contract work mafia business, known as thekedari, was taken over from ganglord Tata Birender Singh when he was killed by Brajesh Singh.
In 2001 Brajesh ambushed Ansari's convoy on the Mau-Lucknow highway. In the shootout that followed, Ansari lost three of his key men and Brajesh was critically injured and declared dead soon after. Ansari was 'crowned' the undisputed king of Eastern UP.
However, a year later Brajesh was spotted in the Varanasi-Ghazipur area and the feud allegedly still continues.
Dhananjay Singh: The two-year-old bonhomie between mafia-turned-politician Dhananjay Singh and Bahujan Samaj Party leaders has turned sour over the past five months. Jaunpur MP Dhananjay Singh, owing to his proximity to BSP leaders, used to have a decisive say in several matters, especially government contracts.
Singh, a thakur, also provided a political balance to the BSP when latter tried to rein in another thakur leader -- Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka Raja Bhaiyya of Kunda. Raja Bhaiyya closed ranks with the Samajwadi Party after Mayawati turned the tables on him.
All major political parties in Uttar Pradesh rely on the muscle strength of mafia-turned-politicians, who, in the past, have 'managed' numbers on the floor of the assembly through their 'liasioning'. Hence, it was no surprise that Dhananjay too was an 'asset' to his political mentors.
Dhananjay Singh, who has 29 cases registered against him, was perhaps the only one among the mafia-turned-politicians of his age - barely 36 - to climb up the political stairs. He was elected MLA twice and then became an MP.
With white-collared mafia gang number IZ (inter-zonal)-247 gang leader and history sheet number 12A against his name, Dhananjay, a resident of Bansafa village under Sikrara police station in Jaunpur, shot into limelight while pursuing education at Lucknow University in late 90s.
From murder to attempt to murder, FIRs were lodged against him in most of the heinous crimes.
Ateeq Ahmed: Belonging to the Samajwadi Party, he was a member of the 14th Lok Sabha from the Phulpur Lok Sabha Constituency in Uttar Pradesh in 2004-2009. He is currently in prison facing trial in 35 criminal cases including several cases of murder and is viewed as one of the most powerful ganglords in the Allahabad region. As of February 2008, his gang is said to be 134 strong.
He has been named in the murder of Raju Pal, the BSP legislator who had won from Allahabad (West) constituency, defeating Ateeq's brother Khalid Azeem 'Ashraf'. After his killing, Ashraf again re-gained the legislative seat. Investigators have pointed to Ashraf as the main accused in the murder of Raju Pal, with assistance from his elder brother.
Criminal cases pending against Ateeq include the murder of an undertrial named Akhtar in the Allahabad High Court premises in 1995, and conspiracy to murder Javed Iqbal, alias Pappoo, in Allahabad in 2001, in which one of Javed's bodyguards were killed.