Mumbai Crime Branch has detained two key suspects, who are closely linked to the incarcerated Chotta Rajan gangster Ejaz Pathan, for their suspected roles in the daylight murders of Amjad Khan - drug dealer and police informer - and his associate Himanshu Chaudhury, at Kala Ghoda in South Mumbai on Monday.
One of the detenue, a man named Nayeem who is in his mid-twenties, is suspected to be one of the three shooters used in the Monday shootout.
The face-profile of Nayeem, revealed an investigator who requested anonymity, looks similar to the sketch of one of the shooters that the Colaba police had released hours after the Mondaya's killings.
The police say it will `crack the case soon. ``We have detained two persons in the case. You can expect the case to be detected soon, said Police Commissioner AN Roy.
The police suspects Pathan to have carried out the `hit on Khan and Chaudhury through Nayeem and the second detenue, Wahab, according to top police investigators who requested anonymity. Wahab, in his twenties, a resident of Dongri, is Pathan's nephew and handles Pathan's extortion and narcotics activities, said an officer.
The police suspect Pathan to have targeted Khan due to three specific reasons. ``Amjad was himself a notorious drug dealer and former Rajan gangster who had business dealings with Ejaz Pathan in the past, but joined the Chotta Shakeel gang a couple of years ago. Rajan wanted to target Amjad because he had given the tip-off last year that led to the seizure of a huge cache of arms at JNPT by Crime Branch, said the officer.
He added, "Khan had also owed a big amount of money, around 40-50 lakh, to Pathan in course of their drug business dealings, but had not paid up yet though he had been warned of dire consequences about this. Another reason could be that there is a lot of resentment against Khan for his role as an informer in getting his rival's drugs seized by enforcement authorities.
Monday's `hit, reveal investigators, had the unmistakable stamp of a typical underworld operation. They chose to hit them metres away from the court that has strong police presence usually, and in daylight. The shooters did not panic at all, shot till they were sure Khan and Chaudhury will die, and almost nonchalantly fled from the crime-scene, say officers.
Pistols of 9 mm were used in the attack, available to the established underworld gangs, Rajan's and the Dawood gang.
Pathan, a fringe member of the Karim Lala gang that was decimated by the Dawood gang in south Mumbai in the early 80's, had later joined the Dawood gang and is a key accused in the 1993 blasts accused; Pathan was deported by Dubai's authorities to Mumbai police on February 19, 2003, and was inducted into the Rajan in November last year by the latter's close associate DK Rao. Both Rao and Pathan are lodged at Arthur Road jail.