Manohar Arjun Surve better known as Manya Surve was a famous Indian dacoit and also a gangster in Mumbai underworld, India. He was born in 1944 in India. He died in an encounter with the Maharashtra police which was also known as the first recorded encounter killing in the city.
He lived in Mumbai with his mother and stepfather. He studied at Kirti College and earned his B.A. degree with 78% distinction. He also won the “Mumbai Shri” title in body building. During his college days he formed a gang of students due to the bad influence of his stepfather Bhargav Dada. In 1969 he was arrested by Police Inspector E.S Dabholkar for murdering a man named Dandekar for which he was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.
During his prision at the Yerwada Central Jail in Pune he developed a fierce rivalry with another gangster Suhas Bhatkar a.k.a. “Potya Bhai” for which he was transfered to Ratnagiri jail. While at the Ratnagiri jail he took part in a hunger strike and lost almost 30 kg for which he was shifted to the local civil hospital. He utilised the opportunity and successfully escaped on 14 November 1979. After his escape from hospital he returned to Mumbai after nine years of his sentence.
After his escape from jail he formed a gang again which also includes his two most reliable fellows Sheikh Munir from Dharavi and Vishnu Patil from Dombivili. The gang’s first robbery was on April 5, 1980 when they stole a car which was used to loot 57 lakh from Laxmi Trading Company near Currey Road. Another famous robbery undertaken by Manya Surve’s gang included 1.6 lakh from Canara Bank’s branch on Sion-Trombay road and Duke and Sons Company at Deonar.
The gang’s successful heists and robberies brought a tremendous amount of heat on Manya Surve and his gang.
On 22 June 1981, Sheikh Munir was picked up from a chemical company near Kalyan. A few days later, Dayanand Shetty and Parshuram Katkar were arrested at a lodge in Goregoan. Anticipating his capture, Surve slipped into an aide’s hideout in Bhiwandi on 19 November 1981. When police squads finally broke into the apartment, they recovered a hand grenade, a country-made revolver and some live ammunition.
Surve was finished after systematic police operations led to a breakdown of his gang’s activities. After the arrest of his cohort Uday Shetty, he was the only remaining member of the gang who was not in prison.
On 11 January 1982, Mumbai police received a tip off from Varadarajan Mudaliar that Manya Surve would be arriving at a garden near the Ambedkar College junction in Wadala in a taxi. At around 12.30 pm, 18 Crime Branch officers split into three crack teams and waited for him to arrive. After twenty minutes, Surve was spotted coming out a taxi to pick up his girlfriend, Vidya with two children.
After noticing the squad closed in and took positions, Surve took out his Mauser pistol. However, before he could squeeze the trigger, Surve was mortally wounded by two police officers Raja Tambat and Isaque Bagwan, who fired five bullets into his chest and shoulder but he was alive.
He was dragged from the scene and put on an ambulance. While on the way to SION Hospital, he kept crying and whining that the police had not given him a fair chance to defend himself and he spat on face of one of the officer. He succumbed to his injuries a few minutes later. This encounter was the end of Surve’s two year spree of urban dacoity and crime. It is generally believed that it was the underworld don Varadarajan Mudaliar who tipped off the police about his whereabouts, after finding his position being challenged by Surve.