The crime branch, on Wednesday, arrested three members of the Chhota Shakeel gang for allegedly plotting the murder of a former associate of the gangster, Iqbal Attarwala, over monetary issues.
Two surgical knives, two 7.65 mm pistols, 12 live rounds, five loaded magazines and six mobile phones were recovered. According to sources, this is the first time in the underworld’s history that surgical knives were used as potential murder weapons.
The arrested have been identified as Raju Pillai alias Joseph, 42, Sanjay Gurav alias Bhola, 28, (both Jogeshwari residents) and Naeem Khan, 40, a Goregaon resident.
“The target and the accused knew each other. We found the surgical knives, which if used could have inflicted a lethal wound. The men were apprehended from Jogeshwari after the police team received a tip off,” said Atulchandra Kulkarni, joint commissioner of police (crime).
A team of headed by senior inspector Vinayak Vast and officers Sanjeev Dhumal, Sachin Kadam, Raju Surve and others caught the trio.
Attarwala, who himself has past criminal cases, fled from India in 2004 after he was booked in a case by the police. He was deported from Dubai in 2007, officers said. He has been acquitted in all cases.
Pillai has at least eight cases, including extortion, attempt to murder and assault, registered at Oshiwara police station. While Gurav is a fleet taxi driver, Shaikh is a local goon in Jogeshwari, the police said.
Preliminary investigation into the incident revealed that the hit was ordered following a dispute over property that was being redeveloped in suburban Mumbai. The officials added that Shakeel was allegedly not paid the amount he had demanded.
The police have registered a case under relevant sections of the Arms Act and the Indian Penal Code against the accused and will seek their custody.