Fugitive terrorist Dawood Ibrahim’s key lieutenant Chhota Shakeel had promised shooter Devendra Jagtap alias JD a repeat of one of the most audacious escapes he had engineered in the underworld history, when he freed his sharpshooter Feroz Abdullah Sarguroh alias Feroz Konkani in 1998, according to crime branch officials privy to Jagtap’s interrogation. The officials preferred to be quoted anonymously as they are unauthorised to speak to the media.
Apart from monetary benefits, it was this inducement of escape which Shakeel fed Jagtap that ensured the latter fired on gangster Abu Salem in Taloja jail last Thursday, said the officials.
In May 1998, Konkani, who was brought to the radiology department of JJ hospital, had sought time to go to the toilet after he underwent a CT scan. Three constables escorting Konkani unlocked his handcuffs and let him go to relieve himself.
Two motorcycle borne assailants then barged into the compound and fired at the constables. On hearing the firing, Konkani rushed out of the toilet, and escaped on the motorcycle. The second gunman escaped in a taxi.
“Shakeel had promised Jagtap to get him out of the jail after he kills Salem,” said a senior crime branch officer. JD, who did not have the money to hire an advocate or to even get his court papers photocopied, took the generous offer from Shakeel at face value, said the officials.
Shakeel, crime branch sources said, had played the same trick on JD’s handler and key Chhota Rajan aide Bharat Nepali. Shakeel had asked Nepali to kill Rajan’s man Farid Tanasha to prove his loyalty, when the latter had approached him. But once Nepali killed Tanasha, Shakeel refused to take him into his ranks.
Shakeel had offered JD too a plum position in his gang. He approached JD as he knew the shooter was not loyal to any gang or gangster. Police sources said Shakeel knew Rajan also never trusted JD because none of his lieutenants, including DK Rao, Vicky Malhotra or Kalia Rajan entertain him.