Was lawyer killed for defending terror accused? | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Was lawyer killed for defending terror accused?

Fugitive gangster Bharat Nepali allegedly wanted criminal lawyer Shahid Azmi, defence counsel for 26/11 accused Fahim Ansari, killed because the lawyer had “exceeded his brief”.

mumbai Updated: Feb 20, 2010 02:08 IST
HT Correspondent

Fugitive gangster Bharat Nepali allegedly wanted criminal lawyer Shahid Azmi, defence counsel for 26/11 accused Fahim Ansari, killed because the lawyer had “exceeded his brief”.

This is what the men arrested for shooting Azmi dead at his Kurla office on February 11 say Nepali told them.

Sources in the crime branch said that the killers said they had spoken to Nepali soon after they received Rs. one lakh for the job.

One of the shooters, Devendra Jagtap, had called Nepali a fortnight before the murder. “Jagtap asked Nepali why Shahid had been singled out as the target. Nepali said he did not like the lawyer since he had chosen mainly terrorists and blast accused charged with anti-national activities,” said a police officer requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The crime branch has asked for Jagtap’s call records to verify his claims and ascertain Nepali’s location.

Jagtap also called Nepali minutes after he and two of his accomplices had gunned Azmi down. “This was to inform Nepali that the job had been done,” sources said.

Jagtap had called Azmi on his mobile phone from a public telephone booth before killing him. This was to ascertain Azmi’s schedule before deciding when and how to kill him.