Shortly after an eyewitness to the murder of MNS leader Sandeep alias Anna Bandal deposed in Shivajinagar court,one of his friends who had on Thursday accompanied him to court was shot at and injured in a slum outside the court.
Vijay Karke (35),a friend of Avinash Shilamkar,a key witness to the MNS leaders murder in 2008,was shot at in the thigh and is admitted to Sassoon General Hospital,incidentally from where one of the 12 suspects arrested in the murder,Rohidas Chorge,had fled from police custody last year. Police have not ruled out Chorges hand in the attack on Karke.
Incidentally,it was only a month ago that the security in and around the court premises was stepped up after police got inputs of a law and order problem. The police had held a meeting with judges of the court and members of the Pune Bar association alerting them.
Police said that after emerging from the court premises Karke,sensing he was being followed,entered the nearby Kamgar Putala slums. They followed and fired at him.
Karke has reportedly named his attackers. The cops are keeping the names under the wraps. Karke has identified and revealed names of the assailants and we have started a search for them, said Dnyaneshwar Phadtare,deputy commissioner of police (Zone I). Police refused to disclose the names of suspects.
Shilamkar was a friend of Bandal and an eyewitness to his murder. On Thursday,he was examined by additional public prosecutor Vijay Hole and he had testified before additional sessions judge V K Shewale. He will be cross-examined on Friday by the defence.
After court recorded Shilamkars statement,Karke left the premises. He realised that some persons were following him. To escape,he entered the slum but they followed him and fired at him. The bullet hit him and they fled, Phadtare said.
Karke had entered the lane opposite Ayaz Carrom house in Kamgar Putala slum when the assailants fired at him. A bullet mark was seen on a the wall of the house of a widow,Parvati Pandurang Shinde,in her eighties. She was inside the house when the firing took place. Parubai Bansode,another resident,said that her 12-year-old daughter was playing outside and had seen one of the assailants in a black shirt. Local residents said they came out on hearing the commotion. I saw a couple of young men fleeing, said Naseer Shaikh,a resident. He added that there were four persons on two motorbikes and they abused the Karke in Marathi.
On February 7,2008,Bandal was shot in Erandawane. A total of 12 suspects were arrested. Six are in jail,five are out on bail and Chorge is still absconding after his escape.
The court on Thursday also recorded statements of another witness,Avinash Shilamkar.
According to police,a total of 105 undertrial prisoners were brought from the jail to the court on Thursday,of which 20 were historysheeters and dreaded gangsters. In May 2008,25-year-old Rahul Ravindra Nayar,who was attending hearing of a murder case in the court was killed by members of a rival gang.