Suspect in Salman Khan case is a gangster with roots in Gurugram - Hindustan Times
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Suspect in Salman Khan case is a gangster with roots in Gurugram

Apr 16, 2024 05:40 AM IST

Police said that Vishal (who goes by his first name), alias Kalu, has been associated with the Lawrence Bishnoi gang since 2016

A 35-year-old associate of incarcerated gangster Lawrence Bishnoi is allegedly one of the suspects who fired gunshots outside the Mumbai home of Bollywood actor Salman Khan on Sunday, Gurugram police officers aware of the case said.

Police outside Salman Khan’s house in Bandra. (Raju Shinde/HT photo)
Police outside Salman Khan’s house in Bandra. (Raju Shinde/HT photo)

The officers said that Vishal (who goes by his first name), alias Kalu, a resident of Mahavir Pura in Gurugram Sector 6, has been associated with the Bishnoi gang since 2016, after his first arrest in a vehicle-lifting case.

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Around 4.55am on Sunday, two people fired five to six rounds outside Galaxy Apartments — where Khan lives — in Mumbai’s Bandra and fled. No one was hurt, but hours later, Bishnoi’s brother Anmol Bishnoi claimed responsibility for the attack in a social media post.

Soon after the incident came to light, Mumbai Police started poring over CCTV camera footage and seized the bike the assailants used.

The footage was shared with Delhi and Gurugram police, who identified one of the shooters as Vishal. Subsequently, the footage was also shared with his family, and his mother and sister confirmed Vishal’s identity.

“Mumbai police shared the CCTV footage, showing Vishal and his aide walking, with Gurugram and Delhi police. It was shown to the family members to identify the shooter,” said a senior police officer in Gurugram who is associated with the case.

Vishal’s mother Shakuntala, 50, who goes by her first name, said her son has brought shame to the family, and that she has severed all ties with him over the last few years.

“On March 9 this year, I placed an ad with a local newspaper saying that I have disowned my son and have no ties with him anymore… We have undergone humiliation, torture and shame and have been badgered by police,” she said.

HT is in possession of a newspaper cutting of the advertisement.

After police officers in Delhi and Haryana identified Vishal as one of the shooters, a team comprising officers from the Delhi Police and Haryana special task force (STF) questioned the family to ask if they were in touch with him.

Vishal’s sister, Barkha, 28, who also goes by one name, said her brother last met the family on February 28.

“Every day, some policemen from different areas and states come to our house and enquire about Vishal, but we are not in touch with him anymore,” she said.

She said that since Sunday, she has been shown the CCTV footage at least 20 times, and she has identified Vishal each time.

According to Barkha, police officers told the family that Vishal is also involved in the May 2022 murder of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala.

“We are dealing with all kinds of law enforcement agencies,” she said.

According to officers in Gurugram, Vishal first came into the crosshairs of the police in October 2016, when he was arrested for snatching a mobile phone from Surat Nagar in the city. He was subsequently sent to Bhondsi jail, but was bailed out on November 5 that year. It was at this time, police said, that he joined Bishnoi’s gang.

Police said he has allegedly been involved in cases of vehicle lifting, murder, extortion, robbery, theft and assault. “He was involved in many criminal activities in Haryana and Rajasthan. He was also one of the suspects involved in the murder of a Gurugram-based bookie in Rohtak on March 1 this year,” said assistant commissioner of police (crime) Varun Dahiya.

Eventually, Bishnoi associate Rohit Godara would claim responsibility for the bookie’s murder on social media.

Bishnoi first targeted Salman Khan in 2018, saying he had hurt religious sentiments by killing a black buck in Rajasthan — nearly two decades after the alleged incident took place during a film shooting.

The gangster would issue his first direct threat on June 5, 2022, when the actor’s father Salim Khan found a chit on a bench during his morning walk at the Bandra Bandstand promenade, which threatened that Salman Khan would meet the same fate as Moosewala.

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