After the shooting at film producer Karim Morani’s bungalow failed to garner much attention, underworld gangster Ravi Pujari hatched a plan to target a renowned Bollywood producer-director in Khar.
Officers of the Mumbai crime branch said the gangster was so desperate to succeed in this attack that his instructions to the shooters were: “Is bar pure shot dena hai” (I want a pure shot this time).
While the plan was to be executed at the filmmaker’s office in the Madhu Park area of Khar on Saturday, police inspector Jagdish Sail, of the anti-motor vehicle theft cell received a tip-off that some people, with firearms in their possession, were planning a sensational attack in the city.
A team of officers laid a trap near the film-maker’s Khar office and caught seven people, who were allegedly there for a shootout. “They had been instructed to harm the producer-director or his brother or office staff. They were instructed that some person had to be shot down,” said Sadanand Date, joint commissioner of police (crime).
While Ishrat Shaikh alias Raja, 41, was said to be the mastermind, the police learned that he and another accused, Rahim Khan, 42, had spent two years behind bars in Uttar Pradesh for plotting to kill a Bollywood playback singer.
“We seized three firearms, 15 live rounds and a stolen twowheeler from them soon after their arrest,” said Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of police (crime). Three of their associates were also picked up, taking the number of arrests to 10. One more firearm was also recovered.
During the interrogation it was revealed that three of the men were also involved in the Karim Morani shooting case (see box). Aazim is currently enrolled for a diploma in engineering. The group also named three others, who had recced the Morani residence in August.
“The arrested accused come from a weak financial background and were lured by easy money. In all, Rs 11 lakh was paid by the gangster to the men,” added Date.