The Gujarat government has sought to transfer the case of murder of two BJP leaders in Bharuch to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Director General of Police P C Thakur said a proposal, signed by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, was sent Wednesday to the central government, seeking an NIA investigation.
Thakur said NIA is the “best agency” in the country to probe this case which has international links, even as the Gujarat police who, so far, investigated the murder remained tightlipped.
“There is a possibility of the use of similar modules in the country. The NIA with its expertise will be able to reveal more. Chief conspirator Javed Chikna, a proclaimed absconder, is out of the country. Only after Chikna is held, the real picture will emerge,” Thakur told reporters at Police Bhavan in Gandhinagar.
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He did not comment on the motive behind the double murder and said, “Let NIA find it out.” Thakur ducked questions on reasons for handing over the case to the NIA when the investigation is still at the nascent stage and whether the five firearms seized by police were used in the murders. He only said, “Ballistic report is yet to come.”
On November 2, Shirish Bangali, former BJP chief in Bharuch and organisational leader, and Pragnesh Mistry, general secretary of BJP youth wing in Bharuch, were shot dead at the former’s Surya printing press in Panchbatti area by masked men.
Bangali was also editor of a local paper called ‘Bharuch Milan’ and had links with RSS. Bharuch police and Anti Terrorist Squad have arrested nine people in this connection, and also seized five pistols and 26 cartridges. They have also identified the courier firm that carried the contract money to the sharp shooters.
Police have also identified the place and the man who trained the sharpshooters and found Javed to be “an aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim”. It is at this point that the government is handing over the probe to the NIA.
DGP Thakur was flanked by Vadodara range Inspector General of Police Anupam Singh Gahlaut and Superintendent of Police, Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad, Himanshu Shukla who jointly cracked the twin murder mystery in a week.
During the press conference, Shukla refused to reveal the motive of behind the killings and said that since the case is being given to NIA “let’s not discuss it… let the central agency reveal all.”
On November 11, the day IGP, ATS, J K Bhatt had told reporters that “the motive behind the killing of Bangali was to avenge atrocities on the Muslims during incidents from 1992 (Babari Masjid demolition) and 2002 (post Godhra riots)”. Shukla, however, told reporters that, “prima facie the case is an act of terror.”
Gujarat Police believe that fugitive underworld don Chhota Shakeel is connected with the case as one of the accused had talked to him through the mastermind Javed Dawood Patel alias Javed Chikna. The police suspect that “Bharuch terror module” may have been used in the recent killings of several political leaders, mostly belonging to the Sangh parivar.
When asked, Shukla said that “a possibility can’t be ruled out but it has to be investigated first”. The Indian Express on Thursday had reported that Syed Niyamath alias Rehman, an aide of Shakeel, who was arrested for allegedly plotting to kill right wing Hindutva leaders to disturb communal harmony.
Sources said that Bengaluru police were aware of a link between Niyamath and a Gujarat module of Chhota Shakeel, but did not know Niyamath’s role in the murder of BJP leaders. Gujarat police officials said that like Niyamath, one of the accused in Bharuch double murder case, Inayat Vora alias Bala was in touch with Shakeel over phone through Chikna.
A senior police officer on Wednesday had told The Indian Express, “Vora was introduced to Chhota Shakeel on phone by his associate Chikna. We have evidence showing that Vora talked to Shakeel.”
So far, in Bharuch case police have revealed that Chikna through his brother Abid Patel contacted two accused Inayat Vora and Yunus Shaikh, both residents of Bharuch who run gambling dens in south Gujarat, and asked them prepare a list of leaders belonging to saffron organisations. In lieu of it, Chikna had promised to pay Rs 50 lakh. The two had prepared a “priority list and Bangali topped the list.”
Besides them, there are seven other accused who have been arrested and booked under Sections 13, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. These sections deals with raising funds for committing terrorist act and commission of terrorist act.