The police on Sunday night arrested former corporator Razzak Khan, 78, and his son Amjad, 53, for the murder of 61-year-old RTI activist Bhupendra Vira at his home in Kalina on Saturday. The duo was produced before a magistrate court on Monday and has been remanded in police custody till October 24.
Khan had an issue with Vira, as he only targeted illegal properties owned by the former corporator, but did not take action against any other illegal construction in the area, said an officer from the Vakola police, who is investigating the case. Khan’s four other sons, too, have been detained for questioning.
“Khan had offered Vira money to settle the property dispute, but they could not arrive at a settlement. Vira got the Lokayukta to initiate action against Khan’s illegal properties, which did not go down well with him. He may have had a role to play in the murder,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.
Public prosecutor Ashok Medhe, while seeking custody, said, “The complainant [Vira’s son-in-law] has alleged they were getting repeated threats from Khan’s family. They have a property dispute. In the past, the accused family had attacked Vira’s son.”
The police said Khan and Amjad have been booked in at least seven cases of assault, cheating and criminal intimidation at Vakola and Azad Maidan police station.
The police said they have found a bullet shell at the spot and they are trying to find the weapon used to murder Vira. It is suspected the accused entered the living room through the front door, fired a shot at Vira and fled while his wife was in the kitchen.
Neither the wife nor Vira’s neighbours heard the gunshot, leading the police to suspect the accused may have used a gun with a silencer. His wife told police that she heard a sound, but wasn’t sure if it came from the bedroom or TV. A neighbour saw Vira lying in a pool of blood and alerted his wife, after which the police were informed.
The chawl has no CCTV cameras and the police are looking for witnesses.
The Vakola police told the court they have seized the mobile phones of the accused and want to examine their call data records, adding they are looking for others who may have been involved in the murder. They are checking if a contract killer was hired to execute the murder.
Strap PROPERTY DISPUTE Razzak Khan thought activist Bhupendra Vira was using RTI to target his illegal property