The firearms used to kill Chhota Rajan aide Farid Tanasha were similar to those used in the assassination of criminal lawyer Shahid Azmi last February.
Five shells found in Tanasha’s house at Tilaknagar Colony were fired from 7.65 mm pistols. Assassins used the same guns to kill Azmi, Additional Commissioner of Police, Crime, Deven Bharati told HT.
The guns used to kill Azmi led to the arrest of four alleged henchmen of underworld kingpin Bharat Nepali. The police have reasons to believe Nepali could have ordered Farid’s killing. The two were close associates in the erstwhile, undivided ‘Anna’ company, as the Rajan gang used to be known.
An underworld source also suspected Nepali’s hand in Farid’s murder. “Nepali wants to increase his ‘number’ (as killings are called in underworld circles). He is desperately trying to gain foothold in Mumbai’s extortion market,” he said.
Since January this year, Nepali has claimed responsibility for four high-profile killings, including that of the owner of Nepal Cable Network Zamim Shah in Kathmandu.
Nepali shared his room in Chembur and Bangkok with Farid in the late 1990s and early 2000 until rival gang members attacked Rajan in the Thai capital. He was aware of Tanasha’s ‘income’ from the re-development projects in the Tilaknagar area.
“The stakes are high. So, Nepal wanted his share which Tanasha had refused,” the source said, claiming the murder could have been a fallout of a monetary dispute.
But Bharati refused to jump the gun. “We are probing the case from all possible angles,” he said, adding that the police are also probing any rivalry within the gang that could have led to Farid’s murder.
Tanasha, an ex-informer to the Intelligence Bureau, was shot in his bedroom late Wednesday night in what is said to be a meticulously planned operation. Two gunmen fired at him while five-six stood guard outside the compound gate. Farid, a key member of the Rajan gang since late 1980s, died soon after being admitted to hospital.