When you think of India and its criminal underworld, you automatically think of men like Dawood and Chhota Shakeel, but behind every great(?) man is a woman, and around here, it’s no different. Some of these gangster women might not have been in the spotlight, but that’s just more proof of how professional and precise they were.
From bootlegging liquor to pulling off daring heists, here are some women from India who have ruled the underworld, in one way or another.
1. Reshma Memon and Shabana Memon – The women behind Black Friday
The wife and sister in law of Tiger Memon respectively, they were actively involved in Black Friday, which landed a huge price on their heads and gave them a reputation as a deadly force to reckon with rather than as the unassuming paramours of a dreaded gangster. With Interpol on their tails, they currently reside in Karachi – allegedly.
2. Shobha Iyer – The mysterious gang queen
Another notorious criminal who has evaded capture for years, Shobha now has a Red corner notice issued against her. Along with a reward for her capture, the fact that there’s barely any information about her appearance despite her influence makes her another deadly gangster.
3. Archana Balmukund Sharma – The queen of kidnapping
A total femme fatale, Archana has been at the controlling end of countless kidnapping and extortion cases as part of the Babloo Srivastava gang. Her whereabouts are currently unknown but it is thought that she is running factions of the gang from foreign lands.
4. Samaira Jumani – Abu Salem’s dreaded ex-wife
The ex wife of Gangster Abu Salem was a big part of several intricate extortion bids, bomb blasts and realty frauds. She’s been a wanted criminal for years now and is apparently absconding in the US.
5. Anjali Makan – The monetary mastermind
The criminal mastery that Anjali displayed cannot be denied. She defrauded a bank of Rs.1.5 crore and has not been caught to date. She is also wanted for a score of other crimes like forgery and counterfeiting and yet, there is still barely any information about her.
6. Bela Aunty – The illicit liquor baron
During the crackdown on liquor in the 70s, Bela paid massive bribes to different officers, allowing for numerous truckloads of illegal liquor to come through and swarm the black market.Even Vardhabhai, the then underworld don, could not stop her from selling liquor in his heartland of Dharavi.
7. Jena Bi – The leader in the shadows
This elderly underworld overseer never ran a gang of her own, but her Nagpada residence included visitors such as underworld big wigs Karim Lala, Haji Mastan and the officers from Crime Branch and saw quite a bit of action. She held massive sway over major gangsters and smugglers and they never disobeyed her orders.
8. Shilpa Zaveri – The one who help the don get away
A friend of dreaded gangster Samad Khan. When Samad Khan was released on bail in a case by the sessions court, another police team was waiting across the road to re-arrest him another case. Shilpa, a badass driver, drove a car at a high speed to the court doorstep and whisked Samad away in the blink of an eye.
9. Rubina Siraj Syed – The heroine who was Chhota Shakeel’s supplier in jail
A hardened criminal, Rubina, also known as heroine, supplied food, arms and money to members of the Chhota Shakeel gang who were behind bars. She used her charm and her several connections to win favour with the right people and get in where nobody else could.
10. Seema Parihar – The new-age bandit queen
Currently a member of the Samajwadi Party, Seema was kidnapped at the age of 13 and went on to become a fearsome bandit, leading her own gang into several kidnappings, murders and lootings. Claiming inspiration from Phoolan herself, Seema has also appeared on the show Big Boss!
11. Phoolan Devi – The original gangster
The one who started it all, Phoolan’s story has been told more times than one can count. After being victim to horrendous outrages, she went on to become a controversial figure, dividing opinion about whether she was a cold blooded murderer or a redemptive force against injustice.