Two weeks after BJP councillor Hiren Patel from Jhalod municipality in Dahod district was killed in what seemed a road accident has turned out to be a contract murder, with police arresting four persons behind the crime. Patel was killed when he was on his morning walk in Jhalod on September 27.
The four accused include two residents of Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh — Sajjansinh Chauhan and Mohammed Samir Mujawar, Ajay Himmat Kalal from Jhalod and Irfan Pada from Godhra — a convict in the 2002 Sabarmati train carnage who had been on the run after jumping parole in 2019. The police is now probing who commissioned the killing by contacting Kalal.
According to Dahod police, Kalal contacted the other three accomplices, including Pada, to execute the murder. Dahod Superintendent of Police Hitesh Joysar said Kalal, Pada and Chauhan had met in prison and stayed in touch. Chauhan has also been involved in a number of offences, including murder and armed robbery.
Dahod police said the accused hatched a plot to kill Patel in a manner that appeared like an accident, knowing that Patel used to go on morning walks regularly. On September 27, the accused used a Light Motor Vehicle (LCV) to hit Patel from behind at a secluded spot at Muwada junction, ensuring that the impact was strong enough to fatally injure the BJP councillor.
Investigation has revealed that on the day of the alleged killing, one of the two vehicles involved in the crime took rounds of the spot multiple times and was caught in a CCTV camera of a petrol pump near the accident spot.
“Our teams had spotted two vehicles speeding past the site, immediately after Patel was seen walking by. The camera could not capture the actual accident but we traced the two vehicles with help of connecting CCTVs after we realised that one of the two vehicles had been suspiciously moving at the site and crossed by three times just before the incident,” Joysar said. Top police officials said they had been under pressure to crack the case as the deceased was a former Vice President of the Jhalod Municipality and a local BJP leader of high stature.
Police probe has revealed that Pada was in the LCV that rammed into Patel following which he shifted into another Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and dropped off at Dahod railway station. At the station, Pada had parked his own vehicle to return to Godhra.
“We will produce the accused in court and seek their remand. Since Pada is a convict and is on the run after jumping parole from Godhra Jail, the court will suitably decide the next step in his case after we finish our questioning and no longer need him in remand,” Joysar said.
“We are questioning the accused to ascertain if the killing was a political rivalry or a personal enmity. The probe is on to reach a conclusion and also get to the person who commissioned the contract killing,” Joysar said.
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