Mumbai Crime Branch on Tuesday have arrested three men, allegedly belonging to the gangs of Ejaz Pathan and DK Rao, who are the two top lieutenants of underworld don Chotta Rajan, for their role in the murders of drugs dealer and police informer Amjad Khan and his associate Himanshu Chaudhury on October 16 at Kala Ghoda in south Mumbai.
Crime Branch (CB)'s Unit One, as earlier reported in HT on Sunday, had on Friday detained Pathan's nephew and controller of his drugs and extortion operations, 27–year-old graduate Abdul Wahab, and his associate 44-year-old Abdul Karim, former body guard of late don Karim Lala's aide Madhav, who is suspected to be one of the three shooters who had gunned down Khan and Chaudhary.
The duo, along with another gangster, 33-year-old Abdul Samad, according to investigators, who is a notorious robber and who works with Rao's gang, were on Tuesday arrested in the case and remanded to police custody till November 2.
"We suspect that these three men, and some more of their associates including the shooters, were involved in the murder of Khan and Chaudhary. Their motive is still not exactly certain but we are looking at two possibilities—one, Khan had owed money to Pathan, two, Amjad had tipped off the police last year that led to their seizure of arms and ammunition worth a crore at JNPT that had been sent by Rajan," said CB (Detection)'s Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay Kamlakar.
According to a top investigator, Wahab had planned the murders meticulously.
90 minutes before three shooters armed with 9 mm pistols sprayed bullets at Khan at 12.30 on October 16, "on Wahab's orders, Karim had called up Amjad at 11:00 am to ask him if he was present at Sessions court for a hearing in his case. Karim then told him that Amjad should wait for him there as he would come there shortly to collect the money", said an investigator.
"Even though Amjad's narcotics business was doing well, he would return his debt in very small instalments of Rs 5,000 or Rs 10,000. It was not expected that Wahab would go to court just to collect Rs 5,000. Wahab was just checking if Amjad was there to get targeted", said the investigator.
He added, "Five days ago as well Wahab had been with some of his boys at Amjad's residence; a month ago, Pathan had also slapped Amjad at the court for not returning his money".
"The Chotta Rajan gang is still extremely angry with Amjad for betraying his former gang by tipping off the police that led to the arms seizure at JNPT last year. Amjad needed to be neutralised, they thought", said the investigator.
Pathan—a key 1993 blasts accused who was deported to the country on February 19 in 2003 by Dubai's authorities, and inducted into the Rajan gang by Rao at a time when both were lodged at Arthur road jail—initially came into the CB scanner due to a co-incidence: since last one month, said an investigator, there was a buzz in the underworld and Dongri, a stronghold of Pathan and he stays there, that he will come out of the jail.
A lot of his men, including Wahab, Karim, Samad and other 'boys' had started assembling at his house regularly to activate the gang's activities". The doubts were confirmed when the police found out that Amjad did have a financial dispute with Pathan.