THE Mumbai Police arrested former corporator Razzak Khan and his son Monday morning in connection with the murder of Bhupendra Vira, a resident of Vakola.
Vira was shot dead in his home Saturday evening. He had reportedly filed several Right to Information (RTI) applications that targeted Khan over alleged illegal constructions. Investigators said Khan received an order from the Lokayukta Saturday morning, hours before the murder, that four of his properties would be demolished based on a complaint filed by Vira.
Razzak was a former Congress (S) corporator. He is no longer with the party, according to reports.
The police said they questioned Razzak (78) and his sons Amjed (53) and Nissar late Sunday. Subsequently, Razzak and Amjed were arrested on charges of murder.
“We arrested the duo based on the complaint received against them. They were remanded in police custody until October 24. Our investigations are still under way,” said Virendra Mishra, Zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police.
At least four more accused are still wanted in the case, according to the police. Vira (60) was at home watching television around 9 pm when the killer fired from outside the house Saturday. The bullet pierced through his right temple.
The police said the shooter fired from a close range and at an angle between the open main door and the bedroom where Vira was sitting.
An investigating officer said Vira’s RTI applications mainly targeted Khan, and that there was a dispute between the two regarding several properties.
Yeshpal Kanchan, former president of ward no 84 of Mumbai BJP, said Vira joined the party between April and June this year when a primary membership drive was carried out.
“During the drive, I made him a BJP member. He used to attend party meetings,” said Kanchan, adding that he was aware about the ongoing dispute between Vira and Khan.
Vira had also taken up his complaints against Khan in the city civil court, the High Court and the Lokayukta’s office.
“Vira was not an RTI activist. He was only filing RTI applications against Khan’s illegal properties after his gala (shop) was grabbed around six years ago. To resolve the matter, a couple of meetings took place in the local corporator’s office and the local BJP office. We were advising them to discuss the issue and amicably end their dispute,” added Kanchan.
He said the matter could not be settled between them over “a disagreement regarding the sum Vira demanded to peacefully settle the issue”.
Local Congress corporator Brian Miranda too said there was a dispute over the sum demanded by Vira and that offered by Khan. “A couple of meetings took place in my office. When I came to know about the personal grudge and the money demanded, I stayed away from it completely,” said Miranda.
Clarence Pinto from the Voice of Kalina Advanced Locality Management group also said Vira was a member of the BJP and also of their group.
“Vira had been associated with us for the last two years and all of his complaints of illegalities were against Khan. But we are not aware about his attempts to settle the issue,” said Pinto.