Sharad Mohol, 27, a local Pune gangster, had carefully chosen the day and time to kill Mohammad Qateel Siddiqui, 27, and make a name for himself among Pune’s local goons, police sources said, adding that preliminary investigations showed that Mohol wanted to emulate fugitive gangster Chhota Rajan, who had vowed to kill anyone involved with Dawood Ibrahim.
Siddiqui, an Indian Mujahideen operative accused in various blasts across the country, was strangled to death with a pyjama string at Yerawada Central jail on Friday. The incident happened within the high security ‘Anda’ cell, when prisoners are allowed out of their cells for two hours between 9.45am and 11am for recreation.
Police sources said Mohol and Alok Bhalerao, 22, a local gangster, got close to Siddiqui, and played chess with him. But, on Friday, when Mohol stepped out with Bhalerao, he had different plans. While Bhalerao held Siddiqui’s legs, Mohol strangulated him with the string, sources said. Bhalerao then told a prisoner they had killed Siddiqui. The prisoner, whose name has been withheld for security reasons, informed jail authorities.
Interestingly, the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) was to produce Siddiqui before a local magistrate court in the afternoon and ask for him to be transferred to Delhi. The ATS had taken custody of Siddiqui from Delhi police’s Special Cell on May 3 to probe his alleged involvement in a plot to blow up the Dagduseth Halwai temple on the same day that a bomb exploded at German Bakery in Pune in 2010.