Meant to reform criminals, jail became the ideal catchment area for gangster Vijay Kedari from which to recruit sharpshooters and extortionists.
By the time he came out of Thane jail on parole a year ago, Kedari had already put together his team, said sources in the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). Kedari had also earlier done time in Nashik and Yeravada jails, which provided many candidates with impressive CVs.
Kedari’s team seemed to lived up to the promise they showed during their campus interviews, executing a series of ambitious turnkey projects after Kedari and they were released from jail. The ATS finally arrested Kedari last month.
“Kedari is allegedly involved in at least seven contract killings and other cases of attempt to murder and extortion,” said Dinesh Kadam, police inspector.
Kedari also executed assignments on behalf of other gangsters. “The underworld gangs of Chotta Rajan and Ravi Pujari would contract their work to Kedari, whose men executed the task,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria. “He was paid a fixed sum for every job. It worked because we did not suspect his gang.”
The gang’s last attempted contract killing was in Nashik on March 9, when they fired at businessman Papa Sheikh’s car. Sheikh survived but a seven-year-old boy travelling with him was killed.
In 2005, Kedari attempted to kill the superintendent of Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail, where he is lodged.