The plot to kill advocate Shahid Azmi was hatched in a country in southeast Asia sometime at the beginning of this year. This is what the chargesheet in the lawyer’s murder case reveals.
The conspirators, underworld don Bharat Nepali, and his henchmen Vijay Shetty and Santosh Shetty chose Azmi because they believed his death would portray them as “patriotic” gangsters.
Azmi was defending Fahim Ansari, who was recently acquitted in the November 2008 terror attacks case. The police have invoked the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act in the case.
The crime branch, in its chargesheet, has said the plotters contacted the shooters using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Investigations show that the VoIP platforms were based in USA, UK and Canada.
After the gangsters chose the men who would eventually shoot Azmi dead, accused Rajiv Tiwary [he is wanted in the case] created an email ID email@example.com and uploaded Azmi’s picture on it. The password and the ID were passed on to the shooters in India, a police officer said requesting anonymity. The ID was created a few days before the murder, police said.
Police said a person called Raju gave a sum of Rs 1 lakh to the shooters. The police have been unable to establish the correct identity of this person and say that the shooters have not identified anyone from police records.
Another wanted accused, who has also been identified as Raju, had provided the shooters with weapons. His identity also remains to be established, police said adding that in all likelihood, both the men had assumed fictitious names.
A police officer said Vijay and Santosh Shetty have previous cases of extortion against them. “They used to work with Chota Rajan and used to operate in Chembur and neighbouring areas,” the officer. He added that both are believed to be hiding in Malaysia along with Nepali.