Kanpur: Sixty-nine years old Chheda Singh, who was accused of kidnapping Phoolan Devi in 1980 and was also involved in the murder of her paramour, dacoit Vikram Mallah, died at Saifai’s Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences on Monday evening, which happened to be the death anniversary of the ‘Bandit Queen’. He was being treated for tuberculosis.
Chheda was declared an absconder in 1998 and was arrested from his native Bhasaun village in Auraiya district on June 5, 2022 after 24 years. He was carrying a bounty of Rs 50,000 on his head. After arrest, he was sent to Etawah jail.
When arrested in Auraiya, he had told the investigators that he was living at an ashram near Janki Kund in Chitrakoot in the guise of a ‘baba’ (seer) where he worked as a ‘sevadar’ (helper) for over two decades. Etawah jail senior superintendent Ram Dhani told TOI that Chheda died on July 25 evening during treatment of TB at the Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences in Saifai. “Chheda’s health deteriorated while being lodged in Etawah Jail on June 27, following which he was shifted to the Saifai medical facility,” he said.
Former Auraiya SP Abhishek Verma said that Chheda had joined the Lalaram gang of dacoits in the ravines of Chambal when he was in his early 20s. “He was among the most active members of the gang headed by Lalaram and his brother Sitaram. Lalaram killed his rival gang’s leader Vikram Mallah and got Mallah’s gang member Phoolan Devi kidnapped in 1980. She was also gang-raped.