Firing at Salman Khan’s house: Police nab alleged conduit between shooters and Anmol Bishnoi | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Firing at Salman Khan’s house: Police nab alleged conduit between shooters and Anmol Bishnoi

ByManish K Pathak
May 08, 2024 06:46 AM IST

The accused, identified as Mohammed Rafik Sardar Choudhari, 37, was in touch with Rohit Godara, a trusted aide of incarcerated gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, said police. He was nabbed from Rajasthan after his name cropped up during interrogation of the two alleged shooters – Vicky Kumar Gupta, 25, and Sagar Kumar Pal, 24

MUMBAI: The Mumbai crime branch on Tuesday arrested one more accused in connection with the firing incident at actor Salman Khan’s Bandra residence on April 14, taking the total number of arrests in the case to five. The accused, identified as Mohammed Rafik Sardar Choudhari, 37, was in touch with Rohit Godara, a trusted aide of incarcerated gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, said police. He was nabbed from Rajasthan after his name cropped up during interrogation of the two alleged shooters – Vicky Kumar Gupta, 25, and Sagar Kumar Pal, 24.

Mohammed Rafik Sardar Choudhari, 37, the fifth person to be arrested in connection with the firing incident at Salman Khan’s Bandra Bandstand apartment, was produced at the session’s court in Mumbai on Tuesday. He was remanded in police custody till May 13. (Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times)
Mohammed Rafik Sardar Choudhari, 37, the fifth person to be arrested in connection with the firing incident at Salman Khan’s Bandra Bandstand apartment, was produced at the session’s court in Mumbai on Tuesday. He was remanded in police custody till May 13. (Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times)

Choudhari, who had been living in Mumbai for nearly two decades, was not implicated in any case earlier. He used to work at his brother’s dairy shop in Dongri prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, when the shop was shifted to Kurla.

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Police claimed that between April 8 and 12, Choudhuri and Godara spoke to Lawrence’s brother Anmol Bishnoi via a call placed through an app, wherein they discussed the plan of firing at the actor’s apartment. He was instructed to help implement the plan; accordingly, when Gupta and Pal arrived in Mumbai, they first met Choudhari at Kurla, said a crime branch officer.

Choudhari, Gupta and Pal were in regular touch with each other and Choudhari conducted a recce of Salman Khan’s residence in Bandra on three occasions. Two days before the firing incident, he shot a video of the actor’s apartment from outside and shared it with Anmol Bishnoi. He also shot videos of some other houses in the city, whose purpose is yet to be ascertained, said police.

Choudhari helped the two alleged shooters financially, giving them 2 lakh in cash in 3-4 installments, which was used to buy the bike and meet other expenses. After the duo was arrested, he fled to his native place in Nagaur district of Rajasthan, from where he was arrested on Monday night. He was subsequently brought to Mumbai and produced in court, which remanded him in police custody till May 13.

“We have all the evidence against Choudhari including his connections with Godara and Anmol Bishnoi, and his meetings with Gupta and Pal in Mumbai,” said the crime branch officer.

Apart from Chaudhuri and the alleged shooters, the crime branch has arrested two other accused in the case. They include Anuj Thapan, 32, who died by suicide on May 1 while he was in the custody of the crime branch, and Sonu Subhashchandra Bishnoi, 37, who is from Punjab. On March 15, Thapan and Sonu Bishnoi met Gupta and Pal in Panvel and handed over two pistols and 38 live rounds to them, which were used to fire at the actor’s apartment, claimed police.

“We managed to recover 17 live rounds, while five rounds were used to fire at Salman’s residence. We are yet to find another 16 live rounds,” said the officer.

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