The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Wednesday arrested seven persons in connection with the double murder of BJP leaders in Bharuch, south Gujarat. The ATS officials claimed that the motive behind murdering the two leaders was “to avenge the atrocities against minority community From 1992 to 2002.” It was done at the behest of fugitive underworld don Javed Chikna who is hiding in South Africa, the police claim.
“We have solved the case and arrested seven persons. There are more accused persons involved in the crime who are being traced. Our investigation has proved that two BJP leaders were killed by contract killers at the behest of Chikna from South Africa,” said Inspector General of Police, ATS, JK Bhatt. He, however, refused to describe the events that took place since 1992 to 2002 and said “what happened in these years is known to the public.”
Interestingly, the same motive has been claimed in cases of fake encounters, Jihadi conspiracy of 2003, killing of BJP leader Haren Pandya among other cases. In all these cases, the police claimed to have motive of avenging 2002 riots.
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Bhatt also announced that the accused will be handed over to the local Bharuch police for further investigation. So far, the ATS has recovered the motorcycle and a car allegedly used by the accused. ATS sources said that the case may be taken over by the National Investigation Agency for its links with the underworld don Chikna, who is wanted in 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts.
On November 2 evening Shirish Bangali (60), a former president of BJP’s Bharuch unit, and Pragnesh Mistry (32), a general secretary with the party’s youth wing, were shot dead by masked gunmen at Surya Printing Press, which was owned by Bangali in Bharuch town. ATS officials said that the target was Bangali but Mistry, was killed since he happened to be there on the spot. Mistry was shot in the stomach while Bangali in the head.
Three accused were picked from Roorkee, Uttarakhand, who are originally from Surat, one was arrested from Mount Abu, Rajasthan, two from Bharuch and one from Nadiad. Bhatt said that Zoeb alias Ilyas Ziadduin Ansari, a resident of Bharuch, has been identified as the shooter who was working as a driver for another accused Inayat Ayyubbhai Vohra. Another accused Haider Ali Muhammad Hanif Sheikh, a resident of Surat and associated with Zoeb, drove the motorcycle and did the recce.
Saiyed Imran Saiyed Muhammad Qadri, a resident of Surat has been identified as one of the conspirators who allegedly took the contract for killing Bangali. A history sheeter, Qadri had been arrested by the Vadodara police for helping a drug peddler Richard escape the police.
The other accused have been identified as Muhammad Mohsinkhan Pathan and Nisar Ahmed Maqsood Sheikh, both residents of Surat.
ATS officials said that the only motive behind killing Bangali was to avenge the atrocities against the minority community. In 2002 post Godhra riots Bangali was allegedly involved in the death of a Muslim child, besides that incident, officials said, Bangali had a clean image. However, officials claimed, “Since January 2014 when Bharuch witnessed a major riot the accused wanted revenge. The feeling grew stronger during this year’s Eid when a Bajrang Dal leader made an insulting remark against the Muslim religion.”
Interestingly, most of the accused are petty criminals involved in running gambling dens in south Gujarat, which is prosperous in terms of NRIs who live in UK and various African countries. These accused have been working for police as informants. Bhatt said that there are others who may be the target and who will therefore be provided with police protection. However, he refused to provide names, though he said there will be more revelations in coming days.