A 43-year-old Matka operator was shot dead outside his office in Kalyan late Friday allegedly by his business partner and his associates.
The deceased, Jignesh Thakkar, operated an illegal lottery in Kalyan and Dombivali, the police said. Around 10 pm, he was speaking on his phone outside his office at Suyash Plaza in Kalyan West when four men approached him, an officer said.
The accused — Dharmesh alias Nannu Shah, Jaipal alias Japan and two other unidentified men — fired five bullets into Thakkar’s chest and stomach, the officer added. Shah was Thakkar’s business partner.
The police said the accused also warned Thakkar’s associate, who was witness to the crime, that they would shoot him if he intervened.
Thakkar was rushed to Fortis Hospital in Kalyan where he was declared brought dead upon arrival.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone II) V M Pansare said that Thakkar and Shah were childhood friends. “They lived in the same area when they were young and stayed close even after they grew up. They also operated social clubs and other businesses together,” he added.
Over the years, the men had notched up lengthy criminal records. While Shah is an accused in 15 to 20 cases of murder, attempt to murder and theft, Thakkar was booked in five cases of extortion and theft, said police. The duo was also named as co-accused in a case of extortion.
Pansare said that relations between the two friends had become strained recently over sharing profits from their businesses. “As they both worked together in the same field, differences cropped up over finances.”
Pansare added that earlier this week, Thakkar had attended Shah’s birthday celebration in Mira Road. However, tension among the friends appeared to have boiled over when Thakkar got into a fight with Shah’s friend Chetan Patel in Kalyan East late Wednesday. Both Patel and Thakkar got FIRs lodged against each other, he said.
“Preliminary investigations have revealed that Shah nursed a grudge against Thakkar since the fight,” said Pansare. Five police teams have been set up to locate the assailants.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines