New Delhi: Delhi's 'most wanted' gangster Neeraj Bawana, a feared criminal involved in more than 40 cases of murder and attempt to murder and extortion, was arrested in the wee hours on Tuesday after a brief encounter with Special Cell of Delhi Police in Qammaruddin Nagar locality.

27-year-old Bawana, whose real name is Neeraj Sehrawat, was arrested from main Rohtak Road around 3:45 AM when he was on his way to meet his family along with an associate Mohd Rashid Khan alias Guddu. Bawana was a 'ghostly figure' for police as neither he nor those around him used mobile phones to avoid tracking. He used Internet-based communication system and camouflaged his location, police said. Guddu, who was travelling with him in a car, was also arrested.

Bawana was arrested several times earlier, including in 2012 when he had demanded Rs 50 lakh from Satinder, the then MLA from Narela constituency. He had jumped parole in 2013.

"We managed to arrest the most wanted gangster after a trail of 18 months," said Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) S N Shrivastava.

Bawana had become an enigma for police as he was giving them a slip though around 35 of his gang members were caught. Police said he was roaming all over North, Central and Western India, setting up bases in the last one-and-half years. One 'Smith & Wesson Springfield' make pistol which costs around Rs four lakh and one another pistol with 'US Made' engraving were recovered from the duo along with live and spent cartridges.

Bawana claimed the top spot of Delhi's underworld after his friend-turned foe Neetu Daboda, the then reigning don of Delhi, was killed in an encounter by Delhi Police on October 26, 2013. He jumped parole after Daboda's death. "Bawana was much ahead of Daboda when it comes to being cunning and realised that instead of taking on the police directly, he took help of his (maternal) uncle who is a politician. Bawana spent huge amount of illegal money earned by him and his syndicate to build electoral fortune of his uncle," said Shrivastava.

Former Mundka MLA Rambeer Shaukeen is Bawana's maternal uncle. Shaukeen's house was raided by Delhi Police in March last year over suspicion that some criminals were hiding at his place.