THE Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the alleged fake encounter of Gurgaon gangster Sandeep Gadoli in February in a Mumbai hotel have narrowly missed arresting the mother-daughter duo of Divya and Sonia Pahuja, and Manoj Gujjar, the brother of Gadoli’s alleged rival Gujjar Binder, in Gurgaon.
The incidents occurred in two separate instances over the past three days. On both the occasions, the SIT missed arresting them by a few minutes, leading investigators to suspect that the wanted accused may be getting help through tip-offs.
Divya Pahuja was allegedly with Gadoli in his hotel room at the time of the encounter. She was reportedly passing on information about Gadoli’s whereabouts to her mother Sonia, who was allegedly feeding the information to Manoj Gujjar, say police. All the three are wanted in the case.
An officer said that after days of work, they traced Divya and Sonia Pahuja to a hotel in Rajasthan earlier this week.
“However, by the time we raided that place, the mother-daughter duo had left. Those around them told us that they had left the place less than an hour before we arrived,” the officer said, who did not wished to be named.
Something similar happened when the police team similarly missed Manoj Gujjar, when they raided a place in Gurgaon. “This has made us wonder if they are receiving any help from outside or if someone has been tipping them off. We are trying to find out who has been tipping off the accused,” the office said.
An officer said that the arrests, especially that of Divya and her mother, are most vital as Divya was present when the “encounter” took place and her account could land the five men of the Gurgaon police in further trouble.
Meanwhile, The five officers, including Police Sub-Inspector Pradhuman Yadav, are being questioned by the SIT in Mumbai since Wednesday.
An officer privy to the questioning said that the five have maintained their stand that it was not a fake encounter and they only fired in self defence.
Gadoli’s family members, on the other hand, have alleged that some senior officers of the Gurgaon police are also involved in the killing.
An officer said, “We do not expect much to come of the questioning of the five Gurgaon police officers as we do cannot go for custodial interrogation. In custodial interrogation, people tend to open up much more.”
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday restrained the Mumbai Police from arresting the five Gurgaon police officers and directed the five petitioners to join investigations from June 15 between 11am and 5pm everyday.
Accordingly, the Gurgaon policemen have been visiting the SIT since 11 am on Wednesday.
A source said that the Gurgaon police team on Thursday had been taken to the Kalina Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) after which they were taken to the JJ hospital.
“Their DNA samples were taken. The samples will be matched with the blood found on the spot,” a source said
The incident in question took place on February 7, when Gadoli, who had 34 cases registered against him, was allegedly killed by five members of a Gurgaon police team led by Yadav at a hotel in Andheri.
While the police team had claimed they had fired in self-defence, an SIT formed by the Mumbai police concluded that the encounter was fake and Gadoli had been murdered by the police team.
The SIT informed the Supreme Court on May 27 that an FIR had been registered against five members of the police team, and three private individuals — Divya Pahuja, her mother Sonia and Manoj Binder, brother of a Gurgaon based gangster turned municipal councillor Gujjar Binder. After the FIR was registered, the eight accused persons have gone missing.
Divya’s father had also approached the police and told them his daughter was missing and he was worried for her safety.