Salman Khan house firing accused also recced houses of 2 other actors: Police | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Salman Khan house firing accused also recced houses of 2 other actors: Police

ByManish K Pathak
May 09, 2024 09:11 AM IST

The police claimed that between April 8 and April 12, Choudhuri and Godara spoke to Lawrence’s brother Anmol Bishnoi.

The probe into the firing at actor Salman Khan’s Bandra house has revealed that the arrested accused conducted a recce of the residences of two other actors who reside in the western suburbs. The police, however, refused to divulge the actors’ identities.

Mohammed Rafik Sardar Choudhari, 37, the fifth person to be arrested in connection with the firing incident at Salman Khan’s Bandra Bandstand apartment. (Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times)(HT_PRINT)
Mohammed Rafik Sardar Choudhari, 37, the fifth person to be arrested in connection with the firing incident at Salman Khan’s Bandra Bandstand apartment. (Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times)(HT_PRINT)

Also Read: Firing outside Salman home: Lawrence Bishnoi gang member held for funding shooters

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The fact of the actors’ houses being videoed was revealed by arrested accused Mohammed Rafiq Sardar Choudhari (37) during his interrogation. Choudhari told Crime Branch officials that he did these video recordings between April 8 and April 13, while the video of Salman’s house, Galaxy Apartment, was recorded on April 12 and sent to Anmol Bishnoi, brother of incarcerated gangster Lawrence Bishnoi.

The Crime Branch has seized Choudhari’s mobile phone and retrieved several deleted videos and photos with the help of technical experts. The retrieved photos and videos showed that he had recorded videos of two other film actors’ residences, said a crime branch official. On further interrogation, Choudhari confessed that he had collected 3 lakh in cash from Bishnoi gang members and given 2 lakh to two shooters, Vicky Kumar Gupta, 25, and Sagar Kumar Pal, 24.

Gupta had also spoken to Anmol Bishnoi, and sent a few of these recorded voice calls to his brother Sonu Gupta. Sonu Gupta’s statement was recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC before a metropolitan magistrate as an important witness in the case, said the crime branch official.

Also Read: Firing at Salman’s house: Plea for CBI probe into death of firing accused withdrawn

The police said that Pal used to be associated with Bishnoi’s trusted gang member, Ankit Arora, who was killed in an encounter two years ago in Punjab. After he was promised a huge amount of money by another Bishnoi gang member (whom the police are looking for and whose name they have not revealed), Pal convinced Vicky Gupta to take up the job with him. Both were instructed to visit Mumbai in October 2023 by the gang member, who gave them 40,000. The duo came to Mumbai and stayed for a few days in Panvel before leaving the city.

Subsequently, the gang member again gave the two sharpshooters money, instructing them to rent a room in Panvel and stay there, awaiting the next instruction. Gupta and Pal then came to Mumbai in March this year, met Choudhari in Kurla as per instructions and later rented a room in Panvel. The duo collected 5 lakh in six to seven instalments from October to April for the entire operation. “Both are unhappy with the gang member, as they were promised huge money but did not get it,” said the officer.

Choudhari, who was arrested on Tuesday from Rajasthan, was in touch with Rohit Godara, a trusted aide of Lawrence Bishnoi, whose name cropped up during Gupta and Pal’s interrogation. Choudhari, who has been living in Mumbai for nearly two decades, used to work at his brother’s dairy in Kurla.

The police claimed that between April 8 and April 12, Choudhuri and Godara spoke to Lawrence’s brother Anmol Bishnoi via a call placed through an app, where they discussed the plan of firing at Salman’s apartment. The police said that Anmol Bishnoi never showed his face while talking to gang members on a video call as a precaution so that the gang members or anyone else could not record his face.

Also Read: Salman Khan house firing: ‘Accused did recce actor's residence thrice; 5 rounds shot’, says Mumbai Crime Branch

Vicky Gupta and Sagar Pal, who were arrested from Bhuj, Gujarat, on April 16, were produced in the MCOCA court and sent to judicial custody after 23 days of police custody. Choudhari is in police custody till May 13.

Apart from Choudhuri and the alleged shooters, the crime branch has arrested two other accused in the case: 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, said the police.

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