Iqbal Kaskar, brother of don Dawood Ibrahim, was not present when his driver Arif Zaveri was gunned down on Tuesday, the police said. Police spokesperson Rajkumar Vhatkar said Kaskar was at his home at Dambarwala Building nearby at the time.
Zaveri was allegedly gunned down by Indra Khatri (27) and Sayyed Billal Mustafa (29).
Police sources said on condition of anonymity that Zaveri was the likely target, not Kaskar as was initially thought. “Zaveri did not try to shield anybody, so we suspect the killers were there for him,” an investigator said.Preliminary investigations also hint at the hand of Chhota Rajan, a henchman of Dawood who turned against him after the 1993 serial blasts. Rajan is thought to be hiding somewhere in South Asia.
“It could be a symbolic act, done just to show that Rajan can get to Dawood’s men. But we are investigating all possibilities,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy.
The shooting is being referred to in police circles as a major hit because no gang has ever reached the doorstep of Ibrahim, now declared a global terrorist, or his family members.
Zaveri was a resident of Jogeshwari, and travelled alone every day to Kaskar’s office. “If Zaveri was the target, he could have been killed in Jogeshwari or anywhere else,” said Roy, pointing out that his murder close to where Kaskar lived was significant.
The logistics for the shootout were taken care of by a wanted Rajan gangster from Nagpada known only as Umed. Police sources said Umed was helped Khatri and Mustafa get photographs of Zaveri and Kaskar and also familiarized them with Pakmodia street.
Sources said Khatri hails from Nepal and was trained by Maoists. An identity card of a Nepal daily was found on him, as were R60 in Nepali currency and R12,000 in Indian currency.
Khatri came to Mumbai about 10 days ago, the sources said. He was looking for work and had contacted Mustafa in this regard.