Shri Prakash Shukla was an Indian gangster and contract killer who carried out his operations majorly in the state of Uttar Pradesh in the 90s. He was believed to have taken a contract of Rs. 6 crores to kill the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Kalyan Singh. On 22 September 1998, Shukla was killed in an encounter with the UP STF.
Shri Prakash Shukla was born in 1973 (age 25 years; at the time of death) Mamkhor village, near Hata Bazar, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. Shukla had a deep interest in wrestling and was a well-known wrestler of his village. He won several wrestling championships in his village and neighbouring areas.
Family & Caste
Shri Prakash Shukla belonged to a Brahmin Family. His father was a school teacher. Not much is known about his mother. He had one younger sister.
Stepping into the World of Crime
The story began in 1993 when a person named Rakesh Tiwari blew a whistle at Shukla’s sister while she was returning home from her college. This incident enraged Shukla to such a level that he killed Rakesh. Shukla was just 20 years old during that time. This was Shukla’s first criminal record. Following the murder, Shukla flew to Bangkok where he lived for a while. Due to lack of sufficient financial resources, Shukla found it difficult to survive in Bangkok for long, and he returned to India. In India, Shri Prakash headed to Mokama, Bihar, where he got in touch with Suraj Bhan, a dreaded politician who had more than 30 criminal charges against him.
Association with Suraj Bhan
Shukla’s meet with Suraj Bhan resulted in their association, and he found a godfather in Suraj. Initially, he worked for Bhan. Gradually, he started to build his own empire and extended his illegal operations to UP, Bihar, Delhi, West Bengal, and Nepal. His gang went from kidnapping, peddling drugs, creating lottery tricks, and killing for ransom. According to an estimate, Shukla had taken the lives of around 20 people in his lifespan.
Creating Enemies for Himself
In 1997, Shukla gunned down Virendra Shahi, the MLA of Laxmipur of Maharajganj and a member of the UP’s underworld. Shahi was the axis of the crime world in UP. The news spread like fire that a new boy had emerged in the underworld who went on to kill Vijender Shahi. Shukla’s terror spread throughout UP. The old mafias were also taken away by the news. It was assumed that Hari Shankar Tiwari, who was an opponent of Shahi, would be his next target; as Shukla wanted the Chillupar Assembly Seat; a seat held by Hari Shankar Tiwari at that time.
On 26 May 1998, his gang kidnapped Kunal Rastogi (son of a businessman) from Botanical Gardens, Lucknow. Shri Prakash shot dead his father when he tried to save Kunal. His gang demanded Rs. 5 crores to free the boy.
In June 1998, Shukla killed Brij Behari Prasad, a minister from Bihar, while he was undergoing surgery in a hospital in Patna.
Plan to kill the then UP Chief Minister, Kalyan Singh
While the UP Police was still struggling to get the hold of the culprit of Brij Behari’s murder, Sakshi Maharaj, the then Member of Parliament from Farrukhabad, claimed that Shukla had taken a contract of Rs. 6 crores to kill the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh. But, he didn’t reveal the source of this information. The UP Police STF then had only one purpose, which was to catch Shri Prakash Shukla, alive or dead.
The Most Wanted Criminal
While in his twenties, Shri Prakash Shukla became one of the most dreaded and ruthless gangsters of Uttar Pradesh and North Bihar. He created panic among businessmen and other gangsters, but no one dared to confront him in his area of influence. He made many enemies in a very short time. Shukla had become a headache for the politicians too who complained about him to the police department and asked them to take urgent action against him. In April 1998, The UP Police formed an STF to capture or kill 43 top criminals of the state. Shukla, too, was on the list.
Finding the Key Clues
The crime show “India’s Most Wanted” broadcasted two episodes about Shri Prakash Shukla on 8 and 15 September 1998. Suhaib Ilyasi, the host of the show claimed that he got threat calls from Shukla after the telecast of the shows. Ilyasi also said that he received an anonymous phone call on 10 September 1998 saying, Shukla and his associates had been seen in a blue Daewoo Cielo near AIIMS, Delhi. On 21 September 1998, he received another anonymous call saying that Shukla had been seen in Ghaziabad in a blue Daewoo Cielo. Ilyasi immediately forwarded the news to the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police.
In September 1998, the UP police found some major clues about Shukla. Some sources revealed that Shri Prakash was residing in a flat in Vasant Kunj, Delhi. His business flourished in darkness. Generally, he used to make calls regarding his business when the lights went dim. Shukla used to spend hours talking to his girlfriend over the phone.
Death- A Relief from Shukla’s Terror
Reportedly, Shukla owned 14 sim cards at that time, but during the last few weeks of his life, he used just a single sim to make calls. It made it easy for the police to trace his calls and find his location. On 21 September 1998, an informer told the STF that the next morning at 5:45, Shri Prakash would catch the Indian Airlines flight for Ranchi. The STF prepared its force and built tight security at the Delhi Airport. Shukla didn’t reach the airport. However, he continued using the same sim card, which made it easy for the police to nab him.
On 22 September 1998, the police came to know that Shukla had gone to Ghaziabad to meet his girlfriend. Thus, they laid a trap on the Delhi-Ghaziabad State Highway to catch him. At around 1:50 pm, his blue Daewoo Cielo car passed over the Mohan Nagar Flyover where five police vehicles were already stationed. As soon as the police saw his car approaching, they speeded their vehicles towards him and managed to circle him a km away from the state highway. Seeing himself being trapped by the police, Shukla took out his rifle and fired 14 bullets on them. In return, the police fired 45 bullets on Shukla and his fellows and got succeeded to lay them dead.
On 5 November 1998, the members of Shukla’s gang shot dead Pritam Singh, a member of the STF to take his death’s revenge.
- Shri Prakash Shukla was very passionate about cars and women. He had several girlfriends.
- Shukla was also fond of flashy clothes.
- In 2005, Sushant Singh played the role of Shukla in the film Sehar, which was based on the work done by the UP STF to catch Shukla.
- In 2010, a TV series titled “Gunahon Ka Devta” was released. One of the characters of the series was based on Shukla.
- In 2018, Zee5 released a web series “Rangbaaz,” which was based on the life of Shri Prakash Shukla.
- According to a report of the UP STF, Shri Prakash had connections with leaders like Prabha Dwivedi, Amramani Tripathi, Ramapati Shastri, Markandey Chand, Jayanarayan Tiwari, Sundar Singh Baghel, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Jitendra Kumar Jaiswal, RK Chaudhary, Madan Singh, Akhilesh Singh, and Ashtabhuja Shukla. They had helped him evade the police and some of them even provided him shelter.
- Reportedly, the last threat that Shukla had given in his life was to a builder who had built 105 flats in Lucknow. He demanded Rs. 50 thousand on every flat that the builder sold.
- Apparently, Shukla kept an AK 47 rifle with him wherever he went.
- According to a police report, STF spent more than Rs. 1 crore to get hold of Shukla. It was the first time that this huge amount was spent to trap a criminal. At that time, using surveillance was a costly process.