Four days after Vijay Pandit, a BJP leader from Dadri, was gunned down by three assailants on two motorbikes, Uttar Pradesh Police arrested five people in connection with the case, including two people who police say are responsible for supplying arms to the assailants. “Of the five arrested, Avnesh, Nitin Gujar and Deepak were present at the scene of crime. Avnesh along with Ankit Gujar had shot Pandit. Ankit is still absconding along with one other person who was present near the scene of crime,” an officer said.
Police officers claim that Pandit’s assassination could be traced back to a murder one Ravindra Sharma in September 2012 in Dadri. “The main accused in the Sharma murder case, Arun, was chargesheeted along with four others and the case is currently in court. Although the families of the accused were trying to reach a settlement with Sharma’s family, Vijay Pandit was opposed to it and wanted to bring those responsible for the murder to book. He was actively urging witnesses to go and testify in the court. This prompted Arun to plot Pandit’s murder since he thought he would be convicted if Pandit was alive,” D S Chauhan, Addl Director General of Police , said.
Chauhan further claimed that Arun was responsible for enlisting the help of Avnesh, who has 20 cases of dacoity and murder pending against him. “After Sharma was killed in 2012, there was rioting in Dadri wherein the houses of a few of the accused were burnt down. This was another reason why they wanted revenge. Back then, Pandit, along with 20 others, was chargesheeted for arson and rioting. That case is also pending in the court,” he said.
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According to police, no evidence has so far emerged to indicate the involvement of any political leader in Pandit’s murder and it still remained to be ascertained if it was purely an act of vengeance or any money was to change hands as a result of Pandit’s death.
“Pandit’s assailants committed other crimes in the past for money. We are still investigating who all might be responsible for the conspiracy,” Chauhan said. Anil Dujana, who Pandit’s wife Geeta Pandit had alleged to have called Pandit from Muzaffarnagar Jail in March, threatening him to stay away from campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections or risk losing his life, was moved to Banda jail in Bundelkhand on Monday.