The Dubai-based man known as Rajubhai, whom shooter Devendra Jagtap alias JD had asked his friend Manoj Lahamane to call for monetary help, could be top Dawood Ibrahim aide Shaikh Fahim Ahmed alias Fahim Machmach, according to the Mumbai crime branch officials investigating the firing on gangster Abu Salem in Taloja jail last Thursday.
Machmach, suspected to be operating from outside the country, is known to use several aliases.
Lahamane, who had delivered the firearm to JD when he went to visit him at Taloja jail on May 2 or 3, told the crime branch that he had been coordinating with one Rajubhai over the phone to get the firearm.
A senior crime branch officer said Chhota Shakeel, who is suspected to have hatched the plan to eliminate Salem, is known to make telephone conversations very rarely.
“On most occasions, Machmach is the one who calls and coordinates with the lower rung. Even in this case, we suspect Rajubhai is an alias he was using,” the officer said. He added that Rajubhai had asked Lahamane to collect the firearm from one of his men near Mulund.
“Since around Rs 5 lakh had already been paid and two months had passed [since Lahamane passed on the gun], JD kept receiving calls asking when he would do the killing. Hence, when JD finally attacked Salem, it was out of desperation, even though he did not have a proper view to shoot. Hence, Salem managed to escape,” an officer said.
The officer added there had been two previous instances when attacks had been planned on Salem.