A week after a local BJP worker, Gajendra Bhati, was shot dead in Ghaziabad’s Khoda Colony, a “sharpshooter” allegedly involved in the murder was arrested Monday, police said. The accused, Narendra Gurjar alias Fauji, claimed during questioning that he carried out the murder on the directions of former Sahibabad MLA Amarpal Sharma, who is also an accused in the case, police said.
Police also said that Fauji allegedly used to work as Sharma’s personal security officer.
According to police, Fauji claimed that the plan to kill Bhati was made on August 26 at Sharma’s farmhouse in Loni. “He was arrested from Koyal Enclave in Sahibabad on Sunday. One .30 bore pistol, four cartridges and one white Apache motorcycle were recovered.
During interrogation, Fauji claimed he murdered Bhati on Sharma’s directions. Our teams are conducting raids to arrest him. A case charging him with murder has been registered,” said Akash Tomar, SP (City), Ghaziabad.
Police maintained that political rivalry ahead of the Khoda Vikas Parishad polls appears to be the motive behind Bhati’s murder. “With the growing popularity of Bhati, he was threatened by Fauji, allegedly on Sharma’s directions. But Bhati did not back down. The plan to murder Bhati was hatched on August 26, allegedly at Sharma’s farmhouse in Loni. Sharma allegedly offered Rs 10 lakh and gave Fauji Rs 50,000 as advance. Fauji also claimed that he took Rs 25,000 and gave Rs 25,000 to Raju Pehalwan. The pistol which was recovered from Fauji’s possession was allegedly given to him by Sharmam,” Tomar said.
Bhati was shot dead on September 2, while BJP’s Khoda mandal head Balvir Chauhan suffered injuries when two men fired six bullets at them.
A day later, Bhati’s brother filed a police complaint and an FIR was registered against Sharma and two unidentified persons.
Bhati’s brother alleged that he wanted to contest the upcoming Khoda Vikas Parishad elections, and that Sharma allegedly threatened to kill him. On September 3, Sharma had denied the allegations and maintained that it was “an attempt to end” his political career and malign his image. An MLA from Sahibabad, Sharma had been expelled from BSP in January. During the assembly polls, he moved to the Congress, which fielded him from Sahibabad, but he lost.
During interrogation, Fauji claimed Sharma wanted the murder to take place on Eid. “Sharma allegedly said he would meet people on Eid Milan and during that time they should kill Bhati, so that no one suspects his involvement,” Tomar said.