Javed Dawood Patel alias Javed Chikna and his younger brother Abid, who have links in Bharuch, allegedly gave Rs 50 lakh contract to kill the two Bharuch district BJP leaders. Chikna is an aide of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, said the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) that busted the double murder case on November 11.
Shirish Bangali, former Bharuch district BJP president and organisational leader, and Pragnesh Mistry, general secretary of the Bharuch BJP youth wing, were shot dead at the former’s Surya printing press in Panchbatti area of the town by masked assailants who came on a motorbike, on the evening of November 2. Bangali is also editor of a local paper called Bharuch Milan.
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Investigations have revealed that Abid Patel had come to Bharuch some six months ago from London and hatched the conspiracy to kill the leaders, especially targetting Bangali, reportedly to avenge the events “from 1992 to 2002”. Javed and Abid were born in Mumbai but have family roots in Kantharia village in Bharuch. Abid had visited his ancestral home about six months ago and contacted the accused for the murder, the ATS said.
Javed Chikna, who is among the fugitives in 1993 Mumbai serial bombings case, is said to have given the contract to the accused whom he promised to pay Rs 50 lakh. The remand application for the four accused who were arrested on November 11 says that Rs 5 lakh, acquired through hawala channels involving a courier firm that has been identified, was paid to the accused. Police have recovered Rs 80,000 cash from the accused.
Out of a total of seven accused arrested so far, Yunus Shaikh alias Manjaro, 53, and Inayat Ayubbhai Vora, 35, both residents of Bharuch, reportedly run gambling dens and allegedly “planned to identify Hindu leaders in the district and hatched a conspiracy to kill them by creating a priority list”, the police have stated in the remand application submitted before the local court for taking their custody for
Bangali allegedly topped this “priority list”. However, on the day of murder, Inayat was located in Kaliyar Sharif, a sufi shrine in Roorkee, Uttarkhand. Sources said that soon after the murder, Inayat and other co-accused shared the news on WhatsApp.
The remand application says, “Yunus, about six months ago, contacted Jau (brother-in-law of Yunus Shaikh), son of Saeed Munshi , and discussed to take revenge for atrocities against Muslims from 1992 to 2002. It was then they decided to target Bangali first.” The application states that Abid Dawood Patel, brother of Javed Chikna, came to Bharuch from London. He contacted Inayat and his friend Imran. It was Abid who allegedly obtained the weapons and other logistics.” Jau is based in South Africa.
A source in the know of the investigation said both the accused wanted to run their gambling dens smoothly using the clout of underworld dons after Abid reportedly promised them “Bhai (Chikna) still has good connections in the police department.”
The accused allegedly wanted to kill at least four other leaders “to avenge atrocities against Muslims.” According to the investigators, the accused wanted to teach a lesson to other four Bharuch-based leaders who were “provoking religious sentiments in the whole of south Gujarat and had made anti-Islam remarks over the past few years.”
The ATS has sought directives from the Director General of Police P C Thakur to rope in the National Investigating Agency (NIA) to probe the case further. When contacted, Thakur said, “We are looking at all the facets of the case and it is too early to bring NIA into the case.”
On Saturday, the three remaining accused were produced before the local court by the police, which is seeking their remand. The court granted the police seven days’ custody.