The Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested an alleged sharpshooter who works for gangster Chhota Shakeel and was planning to kill Canadian writer Tarek Fatah. The accused, Junaid Chaudhary (21), was arrested from near Gagan Cinema in northeast Delhi on Wednesday night. A country-made pistol and four live cartridges were recovered from his possession, DCP (special cell) P S Kushwaha said.
Pakistan-born Canadian Fatah, an author, broadcaster and activist, frequently visits India and has participated in several television panels here. He told PTI: “These goons do not scare me. I will turn 68 in November and even if they succeed in killing me, the Muslim fight against (radical) Islamism will continue by others.”
A police officer told The Indian Express that Chaudhary had received Rs 1.5 lakh through hawala operators and was conducting a recce to kill Fatah when he came to Delhi-NCR next. He also tried to find out where Farah stays in Delhi and the timing of his last visits to TV stations and other places, police said. During interrogation, he is learnt to have told police that Chhota Shakeel had promised him more money once the job was done.
Police sources said Chaudhary was earlier arrested along with three of his associates in June 2016, but was let out on bail in October. “Chaudhary and his associates were arrested for planning to kill Dawood’s rival Chhota Rajan, who is in Tihar Jail, and Hindu Mahasabha chief Swami Chakrapani — both on the instructions of Chhota Shakeel,” sources said. The Indian Express was the first to report their arrests.
Chakrapani had set fire to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s auctioned car in Ghaziabad in December, 2015. Sources said that two months ago, police found that Chaudhary kept in touch with Chhota Shakeel via the internet and WhatsApp calls.