One of the two men killed in Wednesday night’s encounter — a 22-year-old from Kandivli — did not have a criminal record, the police have admitted.
Kiran Kharade (22) and Mobeen Shaikh (35), the latter a convicted criminal who had jumped parole, were killed in a shootout in Taloja.
“The police had no option but to fire in self-defence as both men had fired at us,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Pravin Pawar. “We have not found any criminal case registered against Kharade. But we did recover two pistols from the duo after the encounter. They had together fired three rounds.”
Sources at the Vashi municipal hospital said Kharade’s family, who came to claim the body on Thursday, said he had been shot without reason.
The police denied the allegation.
“We have a written statement from the family and they have not made any complaint or allegation,” said Police Inspector (Crime) Bharat Shelke. “They told us Kiran often moved about with Mobeen. In fact they have confirmed that Kiran’s father, Kisan, had a criminal record.”
Added Shelke, “Kiran had no business moving around with a convict who had jumped parole. He shouldn’t have shot at the police either.”
The police said the duo had fired at the police party when it confronted them and asked them to surrender.
Pawar said, “Mobeen had come in a tourist car. When the police asked him to surrender, he got out and fired at them. The police fired back in self-defence and when he fell on being hit, Kiran too got out of the car and fired at the police. He too was then hit.”
The police have meanwhile recovered two pistols from Mobeen’s residence in Kharghar. Informed Pawar, “He had been staying in Kharghar for sometime and a search of his residence led us to the weapons. The Pune police have informed us that he was committing crimes even after jumping parole.”
The encounter that took place at 4.30 pm at Vishal Garden Restaurant on the Panvel-Mumbra highway, was a joint operation of the Pune and Navi Mumbai crime branch. Mobeen, a resident of Ganesh Peth in Pune had 19 serious offences including four murders registered against him at Samarth police station. He had been released on parole while serving a life sentence, but had jumped it and was absconding.