Former minister's kin nabbed for hospital shooting
The nephew of former union minister Kalpnath Rai was arrested by Mumbai Police in Uttar Pradesh for his alleged involvement in the sensational September 1992 JJ Hospital shootout that killed three people, including a ganglord.
Virendra Rai, a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader, was arrested from Gazipur, near Varanasi on Tuesday. He was brought to the city on Friday afternoon.
Rai's arrest follows the interrogation of prime accused in the case Brijesh Singh, who is an associate of absconding underworld mobster Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar.
Singh, who was nabbed in Orissa in January, is in the custody of Mumbai Police now.
Rai was presented along with Singh before Special Judge of TADA (Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court AP Bhangale, who remanded them in custody till March 19.
The police contended that Rai used his uncle's influence to provide logistics support to the team of shooters. This included arranging for their accommodation at the official guesthouse of the Bombay Suburban Electric Supply and the bungalow of a union minister in New Delhi, before and after the shootout.
Days after their stay at the minister's bungalow, a builder from the capital offered them shelter before they fled to Nepal.
At the time of the shootout, Rai worked as a police sub-inspector with the Uttar Pradesh police and later quit to join the BSP.
In the J.J. Hospital shootout case, 24 assailants, armed with pistols and AK-47 rifles barged into a ward and killed Shailesh Haldankar, a member of the Arun Gawli gang who was admitted there for treatment.
In the indiscriminate firing, two police constables guarding Haldankar were also killed. Ten others, including policemen and patients, were injured.
Haldankar's killing was allegedly carried out in retaliation of the murder of Dawood's brother-in-law Ismail Parkar a few years ago.
This was the first time gangsters used the deadly AK-47 army assault rifle in Mumbai. The assailants fired over 500 rounds during the incident, which occurred on September 12, 1992, sending shockwaves in the country's commercial capital.
Of the 24 assailants, at least 13 were declared absconders. Eight other accused were killed in different police or gangland encounters.
Of the remaining, Mumbai courts convicted three while six others were let off.
Delhi Police arrested Singh from Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, in January this year and handed him over to Mumbai Police late last month.
The Varanasi police have also sought Rai's custody for six pending cases, including murder.
The Mumbai Special TADA Court will hear the application March 19.