The shootout took place on platform 4 of Bandra station in 1998.
Eleven years later, a designated Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court acquitted key Chhota Rajan aides — Ravi Mallesh Vora alias D.K. Rao and Yusuf Quadri alias Yusuf Bachkana — from the charge of murdering Mutalif Patel, a key Dawood Ibrahim gang member.
Patel was shot dead on November 4, 1998 at Bandra station. Patel allegedly handled gold smuggling and hawala activities of the D-gang.
A passenger was killed in the firing while two others were injured. The alleged murder was part of a series that Rajan had undertaken to eliminate “anti-national elements” in the wake of the 1993 serial blasts.
Patel, one of the suspects in the serial blasts case, had evaded arrest.
Rao’s involvement in Patel’s killing came to light only after forensic experts found that bullets retrieved from Patel’s body matched with a pistol allegedly seized from the Rajan gangster.
The pistol was allegedly seized from Rao after he survived 10 bullets in an encounter on November 11, 1998 in Dadar.
Further investigations in Patel’s killing revealed the involvement of eight others, including Bachkana. Three of them,
Pramod alias Bala Sonawane, Baptist D’souza, Pervez Siddhiqui, were later killed in encounters while Raja Gore, Sharad Pawar, Shivaji Indulakar and Ramji Pandharia remained untraceable.
The prosecution, however, failed to successfully connect the pistol, seized in the Dadar encounter, to D.K. Rao before MCOCA judge R.G. Awchat, said defence lawyer Mahesh Mulay.
The judge on Tuesday acquitted the duo for want of evidence, Mulay said. There was an eyewitness to the incident but he did not turn up to depose before the designated court. Even the two injured in the firing did not depose.
Bachkana is allegedly involved in at least 17 murders and attempted murders in Mumbai, Bangalore and other parts of the country.
‘Anti-national elements still exist’
Claiming that there were still many “anti-national elements” (primarily involved in the 1993 serial blasts),” Bachkana
vowed to eliminate them as soon as he came out on bail.
Speaking to reporters on the court premises, Bachkana claimed that he has been “handling” Arthur Road Prison ever since D.K. Rao got out on bail.
He, however, made it clear that “handling” meant pursuing complaints of inmates.