Two weeks after BJP councillor from Jhalod municipality in Gujarat’s Dahod district, Hiren Patel, was killed while out for a morning walk, police have arrested four persons for executing the alleged contract killing. The four accused, who were arrested on Wednesday, were produced before the local court virtually on Thursday. Police sought their 14-day remand, but the court awarded them seven days of police remand.
Among the four is Irfan Pada, who was convicted in the 2002 Sabarmati Express train burning case, Ajay Kalal from Jahlod and Ujjain residents Sajjansinh Chauhan and Mohammed Samir Mujawar. Pada had been on the run since he jumped parole in 2019.
According to police, knowing that Patel was a regular morning walker, the accused hatched a plot to murder him in a manner that it would appear like an accident. On September 27, after Patel stepped out around 6 am, the accused allegedly ran him over at Muwada junction in Jhalod, police said, adding that the accused had earlier carried out a recce of the route Patel usually took on morning walk.
The vehicle used in the killing is yet to be recovered, police said.
According to police, it was Kalal who contacted the other three accomplices to execute the contract killing. Dahod SP Hitesh Joysar said Kalal, Pada and Chauhan met in prison and stayed in touch after Pada jumped parole.
Chauhan has also been involved in a number of offences, including murder and armed robbery, police said.Police are now trying to identify the person who commissioned the contract killing to Kalal, he said.
“We are questioning the accused to ascertain if the killing was the fallout of a political rivalry or 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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