The prime suspect in Saturday night’s shootout at Connaught Place is a wanted criminal from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, who was allegedly hired to injure and intimidate witnesses testifying against a local drug dealer, the police have learnt.
The accused, identified as Mohammad Rizwan alias Irfan, is wanted in 20 cases of murder, dacoity, robbery and other crimes.
A Delhi court Sunday sent him to police custody for three days.
Irfan was overpowered and arrested by two constables – Prateek and Sandeep – after the shootout at Shankar Market, a stone’s throw from the teeming weekend crowd. His two accomplices, however, fled the spot.
The drug dealer wanted Irfan and his men to intimidate some witnesses from Bijnore in UP, who were to depose before a Delhi court in a kidnapping case against the dealer’s aide Ashu Pehalwan.
“Irfan was supposed to fire a bullet in his aide’s leg and implicate the witnesses in a false attempt-to-murder case,” said a police official.
Alternatively, they planned to scare the witnesses by firing at them but not target their bodies. “But before they could execute their plans, the three were spotted by patrolling constables,” said the official.
Police also ruled out a terror link in the firing that occurred merely three kilometres away from Feroz Shah Kotla stadium hosting the India-West Indies ODI.