‘AAP legislator Naresh Yadav was not the actual target’: Delhi cops
The attack, in which eight bullets were fired within a matter of seconds at a traffic junction, left 45-year-old AAP volunteer Ashok Mann dead and another party supporter, 46-year-old Harender, injured.Updated: Feb 13, 2020 04:41 IST
An old “personal enmity” triggered the murderous gun attack on a convoy of Aam Aadmi Party’s Mehrauli legislator Naresh Yadav in south Delhi on Tuesday night, Delhi Police said on Wednesday after arresting one suspect for the shooting that left one party volunteer dead and another injured.
The attack, in which eight bullets were fired within a matter of seconds at a traffic junction, left 45-year-old AAP volunteer Ashok Mann dead and another party supporter, 46-year-old Harender, injured.
Naresh Yadav, who was re-elected from the constituency just hours earlier in the day, was in the same Gypsy that was attacked, but he escaped unhurt.
“The attackers did not have any political motive and the Mehrauli MLA was not their target. The attackers wanted to kill Mann who had allegedly been threatened a fortnight ago as well. Harender happened to be next to Mann because of which he was hit,” said Ingit Pratap Singh, additional deputy commissioner of police (south-west).
‘ENMITY SINCE 2004’
Investigators said the animosity between Mann and the arrested suspect, Dharamvir, began as early as in 2004 when they were rivals in the transport business. Father to two children, Mann had moved on from that business and was living off rent from a four-storey residential apartment his family owns in Kishnagarh village near Vasant Kunj.
Mann had joined AAP only a few weeks ago and had been helping MLA Yadav in campaigning, his neighbours and distant relatives said.
“Mann has at least two previous criminal involvements – one of attempt to murder in 2012 and another of assault around the same time,” said Devender Arya, deputy commissioner of police (south-west). Mann’s family refused to speak to the media.
Dharamvir too lives in the Kishangarh village. “After the transport business, Dharamvir started an electronic goods business in Gurgaon, becoming a direct competitor to Mann’s nephew. That increased the animosity,” Arya said.
The trigger for Tuesday’s murderous attack was an incident that took place in Kishangarh in October. “On Diwali night, two neighbours, Sanjay Mehlawat and Prashant Mehlawat, quarrelled over bursting firecrackers. While their neighbours intervened, Sanjay held a grudge against Prashant,” said an investigator .
“On November 1, Prashant, 19, was riding a motorcycle while returning home from a gymnasium, Sanjay and two others had shot and injured him. All the three suspects were arrested and jailed,” said the investigator.
As Mann was allegedly close to Sanjay, Prashant’s family -- which includes Dharambir -- suspected him to be behind the attack. So, they allegedly decided to kill Mann and were looking for a chance. “A fortnight ago, they had threatened to kill Mann, but it was never reported to police,” said ADCP Singh.
They got a chance on Tuesday night when Mann was accompanying MLA Yadav after his electoral victory. “The MLA visited Mann’s home after winning the elections. As they left together on an open jeep to visit religious places, Dharambir and his two relatives hurriedly planned to follow them and kill Mann,” said an investigator.
As the convoy of seven cars stopped at a traffic junction near Fortis Hospital on Aruna Asaf Ali Road in Mehrauli, the three suspects allegedly hopped off an auto and approached the open jeep in which the MLA was standing in the front and half-a-dozen volunteers in the rear.
“Suddenly I heard loud bangs. Since there were some fireworks earlier in the evening, I thought they were firecrackers,” said MLA Yadav.
He realised something was wrong moments later when his supporters moved him to another car while the jeep with the two injured persons was rushed to the nearby Fortis Hospital. While Mann was brought dead, Harender who had received two bullets to his lower body was operated and the bullets removed.
“I don’t have any enemies and don’t know if the attack had any political motives, but more people could have been killed or injured in this attack,” Yadav later said.
The police, meanwhile, found an eyewitness in Mann’s nephew, also named Harender, who was following the gypsy in another car. “Harender identified the suspects because of which we were able to catch Dharambir from Kishangarh in the early hours of Wednesday. A search is on for the other two suspects,” said DCP Arya.