A plot to kill a lawyer, hatched allegedly by underworld don Chhota Shakeel to avenge last month’s Mangalore gunning down of the advocate of his henchman Rashid Malbari, has been foiled.
The Crime Branch of the city police said it had put paid to the plan with the arrest of four would-be assassins.
Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, Rakesh Maria on Tuesday said the four were caught near Sagar Hotel junction about 10.30 pm on Monday.
Maria said the plan had been worked out by Shakeel and his lieutenants Fahim Machmach and Gafur Chikna, both based in Dubai.
“Shakeel had planned to eliminate an advocate in retaliation of the killing of Advocate Naushad Khemji, a Mangalore-based lawyer, by underworld don Ravi Pujari’s men,” Maria said. “Khemji had represented Shakeel’s henchman Rashid Malbari and, so Pujari had ordered his killing.”
The officer refused to disclose the name or other details of the lawyer who was to be the target. Those in the know in the Crime Branch said the lawyer who was to be targeted was counsel for Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik.
The sources did not wish to be identified as they were not authorised to talk to the media.
Three 9 mm pistols, one 22 mm pistol and 50 live rounds were recovered from the foursome along with six mobile phones.
A Maruti car and a Yamaha motorcycle, on which they were supposed to set out on their mission, were also seized along with Rs 21,000.
On April 9, Mangalore-based lawyer Naushad Kasimji was shot by unidentified gunmen. Hours after the incident, underworld don Ravi Pujari called up a couple of newspapers, claiming responsibility for the killing.
Pujari had said Kasimji had become a marked man after he decided to defend Shakeel aide Rashid Malbari, who had been arrested in connection with a plot to assassinate BJP leader Varun Gandhi and the Karnataka-based Muthalik.
The foursome had several cases of murder, dacoity and extortion registered against them in the past.