The Mumbai police crime branch on Thursday claimed to have solved the mystery behind the daylight shootout of businessman Manish Dholakia on Tuesday, with the arrest of four persons.
The crime branch has also partly-unravelled the contract killing (supari) plot, ordained by fugitive underworld kingpin Dawood Ibrahim’s younger brother Anees, which went wrong due to the resistance put up by Dholakia’s security guard, Ajit Aroonkar (45).
Joint commissioner of police, crime, Himanshu Roy said that Anees, along with his close confidant, Salim Chiplun (Chiplunkar) had been given Rs 5 lakh supari for Dholakia’s elimination for what is being suspected as a long dispute over a prime property in the city.
A top hawala operator in the city, who paid the ransom on behalf of Anees, and the facilitator who arranged the shooters, are still to be nabbed.
Roy identified the arrested accused as Ramdas Rahane, an old Dawood crony, his aide Gitaram Yadav alias Mauli and the two shooters — Pravin Mishra (20) and Abhishek Singh (22).
The police have recovered a 7.65 mm factory-made pistol (which was used in the killing of Aroonkar) along with 10 live rounds and two empty rounds. Six live rounds belonged to the other weapon (again 7.65 mm pistol), which the assailants had left at the spot.
According to Roy, Anees and Chiplun gave the supari for Dholakia’s murder to Rahane sometime last month.
When Anees awarded Ramdas the contract, he got in touch with Mauli, who was just out of jail. Simultaneously, the mediator arranged the two shooters — Mishra and Singh from Uttar Pradesh, Roy said.
Roy said that on February 8, Mauli allegedly came to Churchgate station with the shooters in a train and showed them Dholakia’s office in Sharda Chambers at New Marine Lines.
He gave them the loaded guns and waited at a distance for the shooters to return.
However, the plan wrong due to Aroonkar’s interception. Following the shootout, Mauli took the shooters to Dadar and then to a lodge at Ghatkopar. However, the police, by then had got wind of the plot and arrested the foursome.
The police also recovered Rs 2 lakh cash, which Mauli had kept aside to deliver to Ramdas. The mediator was supposed to pay Rs 3 lakh cash to the shooters later, Roy added.