Hitendrasinh Zala alias Hitubha, the prime accused in the 2017 Mustak Mir murder case in Morbi, was arrested by a team of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Gujarat from Vadodara on Sunday. Zala, who is facing at least two murder cases was on the run after he allegedly escaped from a police escort while being taken to Morbi from Ahmedabad in October last year.
“Zala was arrested by our team from a hotel opposite Vadodara Central mall. He was carrying a pistol and 16 live cartridges and he tried to run away. However, our team managed to catch hold of him even as two other persons fled the spot,” ATS chief Himanshu Shukla told The Indian Express.
Sources said that Zala, who is in his 30s, had gone to the hotel to celebrate his “one year of freedom” after escaping from lawful custody. This is the second time in around a year that Zala has been arrested by the ATS following his escape from lawful custody.
He is the prime accused in the alleged murder of history-sheeter Mustak Mir of Morbi in April 2017. Mir was allegedly shot dead by Zala and three others over an alleged property dispute. He was subsequently arrested by police. However, in December 2018, he jumped parole and allegedly attacked Mustak’s brother Arif in Kalika Plot area of Morbi. While Arif had escaped, a 13-year-old boy was hit by a bullet and killed. A girl was also injured.
Zala was booked for murder, rioting, criminal conspiracy and under the Arms Act. Eventually, he was arrested by ATS from Ahmedabad on August 29 last year and was later lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail.
However, he had given a slip to a police team which was escorting him from Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad to Morbi in October last year. He had escaped from police custody while the escort team had halted at a hotel on Sanad-Maliya highway near Dhrangadhra in Surendranagar and was on the run since. Four policemen, including a police sub-inspector were booked for alleged negligence while escorting Zala to Morbi for a court hearing.
“Since he has been found in possession of a firearm and ammunition, we are in the process of booking him under the Arms Act,” Shukla further said.