Thick curled moustache, sporting a Ray ban aviator sun-glasses and a red vermilion mark on his forehead, Daku Malkhan Singh, 74, a bandit of the Chambal region is now busy in seeking votes for BJP state president Narendra Singh Tomar, who is contesting from the Gwalior seat.
According to locals, after kidnapping the victim, Malkhan used to send the demand for the “Firauti” (ransom) on a letter head that had his name printed on the top and the ransom amount written below. He is one of the few dacoits on whom a book- “Malkhan- the story of a bandit King”, has been written.
Malkhan though says that he was never a dacoit, but a “Baagi” (Rebel). “We never harassed anyone who was weak or poor, we targeted those who used to steal from the poor”, recalls Malkhan, who spent close to 10 years in the prison.
He claims that the times might have changed but still the system of stealing from the poor is going on. “That is why I am campaigning in support for the BJP. Even after so many years of the country’s Independence, nothing has changed and things will not change until the BJP comes to power at the Centre”, he says.
Malkhan, who had surrendered before the then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Arjun Singh, said that all the promises that were made to him by Singh were never fulfilled. “Before we surrendered with our arms, the state government made a commitment that our case will be leniently dealt with. However as soon as the surrender took place, all the promises were forgotten. The Congress did not keep its promise”, alleged Malkhan, who had crowned himself as “Dasyu Samrat” (dacoit king), when he was at his prime in the 70s and the late 80s.
When he surrendered on 17 June 1982 in Bhind at the age of 42, he was facing arrest in atleast 105 cases of murder, kidnapping and dacoity.
One of the conditions that Malkhan had put for his surrender was that he and his gang members should not be handcuffed while being taken to the court but after the initial days of surrendering, the Police reneged on its promise. Another condition was that all the cases against the dacoits would be transferred from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to Gwalior.
However, Malkhan forgets to mention that soon after his surrender took place, Arjun Singh was sent to Punjab and he was replaced with the present Congress party treasurer Moti Lal Vora, who had other pressing issues to cater to rather than think about the commitment made to the dacoits.