In a daylight armed attack reminiscent of the days the city’s underworld ruled the streets, three unidentified men allegedly belonging to the Chota Rajan gang on Monday afternoon gunned down two alleged drug-traffickers at a busy South Mumbai road-junction, in what appeared to be reprisal killings.
One of the victims, Amjad Ashraf Khan (42, Andheri resident), a "big-time narcotics dealer" who had over the past few years been allegedly working as an informer to a clutch of anti-narcotics enforcement agencies and was the one whose tip-off led to the seizure by the city police of a huge cache of arms at JNPT last year that had been sent here by the Rajan gang, according to top police officers who requested anonymity.
"Amjad had tipped-off the police that led to the arms seizure at JNPT, the arms had been sent by Rajan aide Bharat Nepali, last year on May 21… he was working as an informer for the Narcotics Control Bureau and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence," said a top officer who is involved in fighting the underworld.
"Rajan was angry with Amjad but knew he could be a valuable asset for him since Amjad was a big-time narcotics dealer… Rajan had recently told him, 'work only for me and with me,' but Amjad had refused him that directly led to his murder," said the officer.
The gun-men, said an officer, were apparently carrying sophisticated foreign-made revolvers; it was clear who was their target, while Amjad’s body sustained 15-16 bullets, the one of his associate, Himanshu Chaudhary (in his thirties), received only three bullets.
The Mumbai Crime Branch, based on Amjad’s tip-off, had recovered from
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) 34 revolvers, three pistols, 1,238 cartridges and a silencer hidden in 22 drums of grease, worth Rs one crore.
When asked Crime Branch’s DCP Dhananjay Kamlakar said, "We are doing a parallel probe into the incident and are looking at all angles including the underworld’s role in it."
According to DCP Brijesh Singh, enforcement authorities have seized huge quantities of narcotics from Amjad in the past: in 2000, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had seized 517 kg of Mandrax tablets from him at Anthony compound, Juhu gulli, Andheri (east), while in 1990, the Narcotics Control Bureau had seized 1100 kg of Mandrax from him.
The attack occurred at around 12:50 pm, at the Kala Ghoda road-junction. The attackers fled on foot towards the Gateway from the spot.
Amjad and Himanshu - both on bail currently in the 2000 seizure case in which
Amjad was the main accused - had arrive at sessions court 60 metres away at 10:30 am to attend hearing in the case pending against them.
The hearing at the NDPS (Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) court, number 46, second floor, adjourned for a lunch break at around 12:30-to-12:45 pm. Khan and Chaudhary left the courtroom for getting snacks downstairs, Khan wanted to offer namaaz in a nearby mosque.
At 12:50 pm, however, the duo were ambushed at the busy junction as they tried to cross the road. They were standing on the zebra crossing, opposite the Allen Solly showroom, when their 'killers' encircled them and sprayed bullets at them.