SAIL chief attack was part of coal mafia murder plot
The attack on Chaudhary, near the city’s central HUDCO Place, was foiled by a passing police patrol, which arrested two of the four attackers in what seemed to be an incident of road rage. Two more were arrested later.Updated: Sep 09, 2019 22:27 IST
The August 7 attack on the chairman of the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), Anil Kumar Chaudhary, wasn’t a case of road rage as initially suspected but a plot to kill him, Delhi police said on Monday after arresting two men, including a private contractor who allegedly hired contract killers to get even with the executive following a business dispute.
The attack on Chaudhary, near the city’s central HUDCO Place, was foiled by a passing police patrol, which arrested two of the four attackers in what seemed to be an incident of road rage. Two more were arrested later.
However, on Monday police said that the four were hired by a private contractor from south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area, Ashok Kumar Singh,60, through a property dealer, and were promised Rs 6 lakh to kill Chaudhary. Rs 2 lakh of this was paid as advance, the police claimed.
Deputy commissioner of police (crime) G Ram Gopal Naik confirmed the arrest of Singh and the property dealer, Sunil Balara, but refused to share more details about the case. “It will hamper the ongoing probe,” the officer said.
The SAIL executive said he always suspected it was more than road rage. “What happened with me on that day made me suspect that it was not a road rage or robbery attempt but a deep-rooted conspiracy. It has now come true. I am surprised that Singh has been granted bail. I am hoping that the police will unravel the entire conspiracy.”
A senior police officer, who asked not to be named, said that Singh was miffed with Chaudhary because SAIL cancelled a Rs 100 crore coal supply contract with him after it found the quality of the fuel to be poor.
“Since Chaudhary refused to go through with the deal despite multiple meetings, Singh developed a grudge against him and planned to get him killed to overcome losses he suffered in the deal,” added the officer.
Police said that Singh hoped SAIL would appoint a new chairman after Chaudhary’s death and he would be in a better position to get his contract through.
On August 7 around 10.30 pm, Chaudhary was on his way home in his Corolla Altis when a Honda City car came dangerously close to his car, scraped it, and after the vehicle stopped, attacked Chaudhary and his driver.
“The four would have killed the SAIL chairman had two police bike patrolling teams that were in the area, not spotted the ruckus and managed to catch two of the attacker on the spot. They were assaulting Chaudhary with an iron rod and a paper cutter. Chaudhary suffered multiple injuries and cuts,” said another police officer associated with the case who asked not to be named.
The questioning of the two attackers, Lalit Kumar and Amarjeet Singh, led to the arrest of the absconding ones, Om Prakash and Pravesh (who uses only one name). Police found contradictions in the statements of the four men and suspected a larger conspiracy. Further interrogation revealed that they were hired to kill Chaudhary by Satender Katyan alias Chutku. Katyan disclosed after he was arrested that he hired the four men on the instructions of his brother-in-law, Sunil Balara, a property dealer.
The case was transferred to the crime branch on August 23 to unravel the conspiracy and nab the conspirators. On August 27, Balara was arrested and he spilled the beans. On Friday, the police arrested Singh from his home.
Senior advocate Hariharan, who represented Singh in the court, dismissed police’s claims. He said Singh was falsely implicated in the case and police arrested him merely on the disclosure statements of the four arrested attackers.
“The court granted bail to Singh because police failed to provide any evidence that could prove his role in the attack. The police initially said it was a road rage case and then claimed that the four men attacked SAIL chairman for robbery. Later, they arrested Singh and claimed that he was the owner of the company which was having a dispute with SAIL over coal deal. But the police failed to furnish evidence to prove that Singh or his son is the owner of the said company,” said Hariharan.