NEARLY A month after it informed the Supreme Court that the killing of Haryana gangster Sandeep Gadoli in a hotel in Andheri in Mumbai was a staged encounter, the Mumbai Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) Tuesday arrested a sub-inspector with the Gurgaon Police on charges of murder.
The first to be arrested in the case, Sub-Inspector Pradhyuman Yadav was leading the team that carried out the alleged encounter on February 7 this year. He was arrested from Gurgaon Police Lines residential quarters on Tuesday evening. Mumbai Police say they hope to arrest his four subordinates soon.
Gadoli, a Gurgaon-based gangster, was shot dead by Yadav’s team inside Hotel Airport Metro, located near Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Andheri. While the Gurgaon police team claimed they had fired in self-defence, the SIT formed by the Mumbai Police concluded the encounter was fake, and filed an FIR against eight people, including five policemen from Gurgaon.
Gadoli’s family has also alleged that a rival gangster in Haryana had paid the Gurgaon police team to kill Gadoli.
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The initial FIR in the case registered at the MIDC police in Mumbai was against Gadoli for attempt to murder, as Yadav had said that Gadoli had fired at them first. Yadav, who was the complainant in that case, was named as an accused in the altered FIR after the Mumbai police completed their probe.
Soon after the Mumbai Police filed the altered FIR on May 28, the eight accused in the case — including mother-daughter duo Sonia and Divya Pahuja and Manoj Binder – went missing. Divya was allegedly with Gadoli in the hotel room when the incident took place and had, according to Mumbai Police, tipped off the Gurgaon cops about Gadoli’s whereabouts through her mother Sonia.
Sanjay Saxena, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), Mumbai Police, said, “The Mumbai police team that had been camping in Gurgaon finally got a lead on the basis of which they arrested Yadav.”
An officer said that Yadav was arrested around 4pm on Tuesday and the team took a flight back to the city on Wednesday morning, following which he was produced before the holiday metropolitan magistrate court on Wednesday afternoon.
To seek his custody, the SIT claimed before the court that they were yet to investigate from where the accused had procured the 7.65mm pistol and its cartridges that were found at the scene of the crime.
The remand application further stated that the CCTV footage from the hotel showed the officers re-entering room 107, where Gadoli was lodged and firing again after the initial round of firing.
The Mumbai Police team has also said that the one of the CCTV cameras installed in the hotel was damaged by the Gurgaon police in a bid to destroy evidence of the alleged murder. “The footage of another CCTV camera shows the accused pocketing the camera to destroy evidence. This CCTV camera is yet to be recovered,” the application seeking to interrogate Yadav about it states.
The court has sent Yadav to police custody till July 9. Meanwhile, Gurgaon police have claimed that they have no information about Yadav’s arrest.