Oil mafiosi Mohammad Ali Abubakr Sheikh (48) and six others were arrested on Tuesday in connection with the gunning down of their rival, Sayed Madar, last week.
The others arrested have been identified as Shamad Ismail Deshmukh alias Salim (36), Abdul Najid Sheikh (32), Abdul Rehman (32), Shahid Shah (28), Shagir Ahmad (25) and Shahnawaz Sheikh (28).
On September 15, two unidentified assailants shot Madar alias Chandbhai (54) in the head near the GPO, and escaped on a motorcycle. Chandbhai died in St George Hospital a day later.
Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police, crime, on Tuesday said the killing was financed and planned by Mohammad Ali, who had unsuccessfully contested the recent Parliamentary polls on a
BSP ticket, to gain complete control over the smuggling of scrap and marine diesel at the docks. Chandbhai was one of his key rivals.
Roy said the conspiracy had been hatched nearly two-and-a-half months ago, after Shamad, another marine diesel smuggler, was released from jail.
In 2008, the customs department had arrested Shamad while he was trying to smuggle two lakh litres of marine diesel into the high sea. The market price of the diesel is around Rs 40 lakh.
During interrogation, Shamad revealed that the consignment of the 2008 marine diesel belonged to Chandbhai, and that the tug in which it was carried was his own.
However, at Chandbhai’s assurance that he would compensate him, Shamad had admitted to the crime and served term. “Chandbhai had also promised Shamad to get the tug released but he broke his word and refused to compensate him. So Shamad decided to take revenge,” Roy said.
Shamad approached Mohammad Ali, knowing that the two were business rivals. “Mohammad Ali agreed to Shamad’s proposal,” Roy said.
As per the plan, Shamad approached Sheikh and Rehman, two truck drivers from Wadala with criminal backgrounds, and asked them to arrange for the killers.
In turn, the duo got in touch with Shahid Shah and Shagir Ahmad, contract killers from Jharkhand, who came to Mumbai almost a month-and-a-half ago. “They were provided a motorcycle and firearms by Mohammad Ali and conducted recce of the place,” Roy said, adding that he also gave Rs 3 lakh for the killing.
On the fateful day, Shamad’s driver, Shahnawaz Sheikh, helped the duo identify Chandbhai as he came out of the office, and they shot him at a point-blank range.
Roy said there would be a few more arrests in the case.