Avinash Solanki (30) alias Bali, the complainant in the Amboli double murder case, is no novice to the crime world, or criminals in particular.
That was why Bali alone could put up a fight against a gang of over 25 armed hooligans, even as residents and passers-by preferred to watch helplessly as Keenan Sentos and Reuben Fernandes were being beaten up on October 20. Witnesses said it was on account of the courage shown by Bali that the hooligans fled the spot abruptly after stabbing Keenan and Reuben.
Sources in the Mumbai police told HT that Bali is a known face to the police in the area as he had worked as an informer to an encounter specialist for over 12 years. The encounter specialist later found himself in a soup in an alleged frame-up case. Bali had proved his loyalty to the encounter specialist by passing on several tip-offs about gangsters, gangland movement and other criminals.
Sources said that Bali has a strong network in the narcotics syndicate and several of his tip-offs had led to important drug hauls by the Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) of the Mumbai police crime branch. He was close to an officer in the ANC who was recently suspended for his alleged involvement in a rave (drug) party at Khalapur.
Bali was also a recipient of a bravery award in 2005. The Crime Patrol Bravery Award award was conferred on him by a TV channel, which ran a serial by the same name. In an episode of the serial, decoy gangsters had entered the Café Coffee Day outlet at Lokhandwala in Andheri and threatened a customer with a toy gun.
Bali, who happened to be present at the coffee shop with a friend, took the decoys for real, unaware of the fact that it was a shoot. They fought with the decoys and overpowered them.