The killers of Congress leader Pawan Raje Nimbalkar have revealed in Mumbai on Monday that there was a contract given out to kill Maharashtra's social and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, a Magsaysay Award winner.
Senior special public prosecutor for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Ejaz Khan told IANS that the accused, shooter Dineshram M. Tiwari and his supervisor, Parasmal T. Jain, had made the disclosure of receiving a Rs.2.50 million contract to eliminate Hazare, during their statement recorded before a magistrate last week.
Khan said the contract to kill Nimbalkar was allegedly given by two businessmen - Mohan Shukla and Satish Mandade.
Nimbalkar was a cousin brother of Padamsinh Patil, recently elected to the Lok Sabha from Osmanabad constituency on a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ticket.
The duo, however, said in their statement that they had refused to accept the contract to kill Hazare, according to Khan.
Jain and Tiwari were nabbed by the CBI last Monday (May 25) for shooting Nimbalkar and his driver Samad Qazi June 3 2006.
Nimbalkar and Qazi were killed at Kalamboli, near the Mumbai-Pune Expressway when they were travelling in a Skoda vehicle to check out a land deal proposed by Jain.
The accused were remanded to police custody till next Monday by a court in Panvel, some 100 km from here.
Apprehending political fallout of the developments, State Home Minister Jayant Patil promptly announced here this evening that Hazare would be provided with security.
The saffron opposition combine of Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (SS-BJP) also announced their plans to raise the matter in the Maharashtra Legislature, the monsoon session of which started here Monday.
Following an uproar over Nimbalkar's killing, the case was transferred from the Kalamboli Police to the CBI by the Bombay High Court in October 2008.
At his model village, Ralegan-Siddhi in Ahmednagar district, Hazare Monday evening rejected the offer of security by the state government.
"I do not want any police security. I am ready to die in the service of the people," he asserted.
Hazare pointed out to mediapersons that this was nothing but an outcome of the criminalization of politics - an issue which he has been fighting since many years.
Last February, two people nabbed in connection with the Congress leader's murder, revealed that a contract of Rs.3 million had been given to kill Nimbalkar.
Later that month, Jain and Tiwari were arrested from Mahim, a Mumbai suburb. Police had recovered three guns and 12 bullets from them.
While Jain, 47, lives in Thane's Dombivli suburb, Tiwari, 37, hails from Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Joint Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria had said.
Jain told police later that some of his men were involved in the twin killing of Nimbalkar and Qazi and that he had supervised the entire operation.
He also said that he had lured Nimbalkar to Kalamboli for checking out a land deal proposal. Tiwari and another person came and shot Nimbalkar and Qazi, and later escaped in a Tata Indica car.
The Mumbai Police submitted a report of its investigations to the CBI May 5. Last week, the CBI took custody of the accused from Arthur Road Jail and placed them under arrest.