The crime branch, investigating the daylight firing at builder Manish Dholakia’s office, wants to conduct a narco analysis test on Dubai-based businessman Sultan Merchant in the case.
The crime branch on Friday filed an application seeking permission to conduct the test on Merchant, who had allegedly transferred money through hawala channels to the accused in the case.
In February 2011, two men barged into Dholakia’s south Mumbai office and shot at his private bodyguard, Ajit Yerulkar, who succumbed to his injuries. Investigation revealed that the firing was allegedly carried out at the behest of Dawood Ibrahim’s brother Anees, with the involvement of gangster Salim Chiplun. Dholakia, the actual target of the attack, escaped unhurt.
The crime branch had arrested four accused in the case, who are now facing trial. The crime branch claimed that they were paid Rs 5 lakh for the job.
Investigations revealed the alleged role of Merchant in transferring the money for the hit. However, the crime branch did not name him as a wanted accused in the charge sheet.
On July 4, when Merchant landed in the city, he was asked to visit the crime branch office. Merchant in his defence reportedly told police that he had sent the money to help a friend whose mother needed a heart operation. He claimed he was unaware the money was being used for illegal purposes.
The crime branch now wants to verify his claims through narco analysis and moved court on Friday seeking permission. The court has asked the police to submit Merchant’s fitness certificate. The court will then decide on the application.
A senior crime branch official said Merchant was not shown as wanted in the case as no further link of his role could be established. “We have recorded his statement. So far, we have deferred his arrest. We first want to know whether he is telling the truth. If the statement given during the narco analysis differs from the one given before the police, we will arrest him,” the official said.