The crime branch, on Monday, invoked the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the murder of marine diesel smuggler Sayed Madar alias Chandbhai at the GPO on September 15.
This means all nine arrested in the case, including notorious smuggler Mohammad Ali Abubakr Sheikh, are likely to face long incarceration in police custody in order to facilitate further investigation.
Joint commissioner of police, crime, Himanshu Roy said on Monday that the police had gathered confirmed evidence to prove that Mohammad Ali was a close associate of underworld don Chhota Shakeel. The association was put to use in every crime he committed. Roy, however, refused to elaborate as to what evidence the police was in possession of in establishing Mohammad Ali’s association with Shakeel.
Roy said, “We have unearthed the entire conspiracy and how it was planned, the finances, the motive and the persons behind the gruesome contract killing.” He added that the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle was found following the arrest of one Rashid Batla from Mangalore on Sunday.
Batla was earlier arrested in connection with the murder of police informer Narsaiyya Shetty in 2006 – in which Mohammad Ali’s role was suspected. Roy said Mohammad Ali had paid Batla a supari of Rs 3 lakh to kill Chandbhai. Batla in turn passed it to Sheikh Akhtar Allah Rakha, who was arrested by the crime branch last week in connection with the murder. Allah Rakha had passed the money to Shamad Ismail Deshmukh alias Salim, another co-accused in the case, who organised the two shooters from Jharkhand to execute the murder.
Mohammad Ali, 48, was arrested by the crime branch on September 21 along with six others for gunning down Chandbhai.
On September 15, Chandbhai, was shot in the head by an unidentified assailant opposite Manama Hotel, near the GPO. The assailant and his associate fled on a motorcycle while Chandbhai died at Bombay Hospital the next day.