Fugitive underworld don Chhota Rajan is suspected to have ordered the killing of Mumbai lawyer Shahid Azmi (33) on Thursday as part of his gang’s long-running duel with the Dawood Ibrahim gang — to bump off persons perceived as each other’s assets or representing communal interests.
Azmi had represented 26/11 accused Fahim Ansari, charged for carrying out reconnaissance of the Mumbai attacks’ targets.
A senior case investigator told HT that Azmi was allegedly “bumped off to avenge Dawood gang’s operations chief Chhota Shakeel’s dispatching shooters last year to Delhi and Mumbai, respectively, to kill lawyers representing the BJP’s Varun Gandhi and September 2009 Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur.”
Armed men had barged into Azmi’s office at Kurla on Thursday night and gunned him down.
Azmi had also represented July 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts accused Faisal Sheikh.
“On Sunday, similarly, the Rajan gang claimed that they had sent shooters to kill in Nepal Zamim Shah, an agent of the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), who handled its counterfeit currency trafficking operations in India,” said the officer, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to media.
Two gunmen had shot Shah four times in Lajimpat, Kathmandu. Indian authorities suspect Shah was killed by Rajan’s confidante, Bharat Nepali, who handles the gang’s drug trafficking and contract.
The latest bout between the two gangs began in July 2009, when Delhi Police’s special cell nabbed seven suspected Shakeel men who were tasked to kill lawyers, Mukul Rohatgi and Siddharth Luthra. The lawyer duo was then representing Varun Gandhi.