Though gangster Santosh Shetty has been nabbed and deported from Bangkok, the Mumbai police are yet to gather hard evidence of his involvement in the killing of advocate Shahid Azmi, for which he is being primarily tried. The case now hinges on locating an IP address.
Azmi, a noted criminal lawyer, was gunned down at his Kurla office on February 10 last year, allegedly by men deputed by underworld kingpin Bharat Nepali. Shetty is said to have provided logistical support to the shooters.
Sources in the police say that the conspiracy was hatched in Bangkok. Shetty had allegedly participated in a meeting organised by Nepali and was asked to obtain Azmi’s photograph, which was to be sent to the shooters to identify the target.
Shetty allegedly downloaded the photograph from the Internet, but the police are yet to conclusively establish this.
“The IP address of the computer used by Shetty to download Azmi’s photograph is yet to be obtained. In its absence, how will it be possible to prove that the photograph had actually been downloaded, and that too by Shetty,” sources said. What queers the pitch further is that Nepali, the recipient of the photograph, is dead, allegedly killed by Shetty in Bangkok in December.
A senior crime branch official said that the evidence is likely to be obtained soon. “We have written to authorities in Bangkok to locate the IP address. The service provider has also been requested to cooperate,” he said.
There is pressure on the police not to bungle up the case as it is already in soup after the court rejected the application of MCOCA to the case. The matter was subsequently challenged by the police in the high court.