Acting on a tip-off, Bharuch local crime branch (LCB) arrested Mufti Abdulla of Darul Uloom, Hansot, from Mumbai international airport on Thursday evening for his involvement in the murder of a local Congress leader Sabir Kanunga (44). He was about to fly to Jeddah. This is the first arrest in the murder while other accused are still on run. Bharuch police, which had issued a look out notice against Abdulla, seized several documents, including his passport and visa, and cash from him. Hansot police inspector K V Chudasma said they had information that Abdulla might leave the country.
“So we had issued a look out notice and intimated all major airports across the country. The security staff of Mumbai international airport identified Mufti and informed us.” Abdulla was brought back to Bharuch in the night and produced before a local court under strict security on Friday. Though Bharuch police sought a 14 days’ remand, he was given a three-day custody. Police said that Abdulla is accused of hatching a conspiracy to eliminate Kanunga as the latter had forced him to leave his madrasa over allegations of sexual harassment of students. After learning about the sexual harassment of madrasa students by Abdulla and his aides, the Congress leader had threatened the Darul Uloom chief to leave the village or face legal actions.
Many students had come ahead openly against the mufti and his close aides. Seeing the situation going against him, mufti vacated the madrasa. Chudasma said, “Abdulla had spent over 20 years in Hansot madrasa where students from across the country study. The madrasa was run through funds from outside India besides those given by local donors. As he had to leave the madrasa, Mufti decided to take revenge.
Mufti knew Kanunga’s rivals and we have come to know that Mufti had conspired against the Congress leader.” On June 6, Kanunga was on his way to his house in Malekwadi area in Hansot taluka, when his rival Pintu Khokhar intercepted him and fired one round from point blank range. Kanunga was taken to Sardar Patel hospital in Ankleshwar by his relatives where he was declared dead after primary treatment. The deceased’s brother had lodged a complaint with Hansot police against 12 persons, including Pintu and Pappu Khokhar, who were Kanunga’s arch rivals, and Abdulla. Chudasma added that they would also contact the sexual harassment victims and file a complaint in this regard against Abdulla in the coming days.