Two held for attack on Shiv Sena office-bearer

Chandrashekhar Jad

Chandrashekhar Jad  


The Mumbai Police Crime Branch has arrested two people for the attempt on the life of Shiv Sena leader Chandrashekhar Jadhav last week. The duo are alleged to have planned the crime at the behest of fugitive gangster Prasad Pujari, a former footsoldier of arrested gangster Rajendra Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan, who now operates independently.

Mr. Jadhav, a deputy Vibhag Pramukh with the Shiv Sena, was shot at in the office of the Sai Baba temple in Vikhroli, of which he is a trustee, on December 19. The assailant was assaulted and handed over to the police by Mr. Jadhav’s son and other eye witnesses, and is been admitted at Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar. Mr. Jadhav, who sustained a gun shot wound to his shoulder, was operated upon at the Godrej Hospital in Vikhroli, and is out of danger.

“When he was caught the assailant, gave a fake name and said he was acting on Prasad Pujari’s instructions. We initiated inquiries and started checking the movements of known Prasad Pujari aides in the couple of weeks leading up to the attack,” an officer with the Anti Extortion Cell of the Mumbai Crime Branch said.

Simultaneously, the AEC also started tracing the origins of the sophisticated .32 bore pistol seized from the assailant. The Hindu had on December 21 reported how the pistol had been found to have been manufactured in an Indian Ordnance Factory.

“Investigations led us to Krishnadhar Singh, a native of Madhya Pradesh, and Anand Phadtare, a Thane resident. They were both picked up and on sustained questioning revealed that Mr. Pujari had instructed Mr. Singh and the assailant, identified as Sagar Mishra, to plan and execute the attack. The objective was to establish Mr. Pujari’s supremacy in the central and eastern suburbs,” the officer said.

He added that Mr. Singh and Mr. Mishra came to Mumbai, where another aide, who is still wanted, arranged for their stay, while Mr. Phadtare provided them with a motorcycle without a number plate to be used in the offence.

Mr. Mishra then monitored Mr. Jadhav’s movements for several days before striking on December 12, the officer said.

“We have also confirmed that the pistol used in the attack was issued from the IOF in Kanpur. We have identified the dealer who sold it legally as well as the buyer who purchased it with a proper license. We have called him for inquiries to find out how his licensed firearm ended up with Mr. Mishra,” the officer said.

Mr. Singh, Mr. Phadtare and Mr. Mishra have been charged with attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code along with relevant sections of the Arms Act, while the AEC is now exploring grounds to invoke the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act in the case. Mr. Singh and Mr. Phadtare were arrested on Tuesday and have been remanded in police custody till January 1. Mr. Mishra is yet to be discharged from hospital, officers said.

A Mumbai native, Mr. Pujari started his criminal career under Chhota Rajan but soon followed Rajan’s aide Kumar Pillai, when the latter split from his boss following a near fatal attack on him in Thailand in 2000. Pillai and Ravi Pujari, also under arrest currently, parted ways with Rajan when their boss started suspecting them of having tipped off the Dawood gang about his whereabouts.

Prasad Pujari, however, was kicked out of Kumar Pillai’s gang after some internal disputes and later joined Ravi Pujari. After the latter’s arrest earlier this year, Pujari has been operating on his own and the attack on Mr. Jadhav seems to be his attempt at making a name for himself.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 7:52:43 AM |

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