A day after the arrest of three Chhota Shakeel henchmen for plotting the murder of a former aide of the fugitive gangster, officers from the Mumbai crime branch have learnt that they had been allegedly assigned at least three more targets in the city.
Officers from the anti-extortion cell (AEC) said all those targeted are businessmen, but the motive behind giving contracts to kill them is not known. Investigators were tight lipped about the backgrounds of the people, who were to be targetted after Iqbal Attarwala. Sources, however, said they had being given adequate police protection.
The police said that the arrested henchmen - Raju Pillai alias Joseph, 42, Sanjay Gurav alias Bhola, 28 (both Jogeshwari residents) and Naeem Khan, 40, Goregaon resident - were promised Rs1 lakh each per hit.
“The trio was promised Rs1 lakh per head after each killing and they were already paid Rs35,000 via a hawala channel. We are yet to ascertain how they received the money and are investigating the money trail to identify middleman, who handed over the cash,” said a crime branch officer.
The crime branch is also yet to find how the two 7.65mm pistols, which were recovered from the accused, were procured. It is still unclear from which state the weapons were sourced, AEC officers said.
The accused were produced before a local court that remanded them to police custody till April 28.
Crime branch officers said Shakeel has been named wanted accused in the case, adding that he had been giving instructions to the trio via VOIP calls.
The police recovered two surgical knives, two 7.65mm, 12 live rounds, five loaded magazines and six mobile phones from the accused.
Attarwala has past criminal cases and had fled from India in 2004 after he was booked in a land-grabbing case by the Mumbai police. He was deported from Dubai in 2007, the officers said.