The police suspect revenge killing or a property dispute as the motive behind the Bhendi Bazaar shootout on Saturday.
Two people — Irfan Qureshi and Shakeel Modag — were killed in the incident, which saw three others were critically injured.
Although investigations have begun to trace the unidentified gunmen who fired indiscriminately from a moving motorcycle, police suspect that some of those attacked were merely caught in the crossfire. One of the injured includes a flower vendor, Gangubai.
Crime branch heads convened an emergency meeting of all regional and central units on Sunday to discuss the sudden rise in shoot-out incidents that indicate a resumption of underworld activities.
In the meeting, which was chaired by joint commissioner of police, (Crime), Rakesh Maria, instructions were given to solve the cases of the recent shoot-outs — on lawyer Shahid Azmi and at Bhendi Bazaar on Saturday night — on a priority basis.
Highly placed sources in the crime branch, which is conducting investigation parallel to the local police, said that Irfan Qureshi alias Irfan Mota is suspected to be the actual target of the assailants.
Two months ago, Qureshi had publicly spoken against a banned militant organisation. Police suspect that the shooters could have been deputed by the hardliners from the organisation.
The other motive behind the killings being explored is property dispute between Asif Khan alias Dadhi, one of the injured, and his brother Habeeb over a building re-development project near the JJ flyover.
Although Habeeb is not traceable, the JJ Marg police on Sunday recorded Asif’s statement in which he said that he was not aware about identity of the assailants. Asif sustained a bullet injury on his chest and is not still out of danger.
Vitthal Kamble, police sub inspector (PSI) at J J Marg police station said that the assailants knew about the movements of Asif, Shakeel Modag, a close aide of MLC Bhai Jagtap and Qureshi.
According to the police there were four assailants on two bikes. The pillion riders fired six rounds from revolverse.
Kamble said sketches of the assailants were being prepared based on eyewitness accounts.