Mumbai crime branch probes underworld link to Juhu developer’s murderUpdated: Aug 20, 2020, 23:54 IST
Following the murder of 55-year-old Juhu real estate developer and chairman of AI Sofi Group, Abdul Munaf Shaikh on August 17, the Mumbai crime branch is now probing the possibility of an underworld connection to the case.
Crime branch sources said that while two accused, Abdul Rehman Abdul Latif Shaikh alias Sonu, 30, and Nadeem Naushad Shaikh, 29, have been arrested in the case, it was not probable that Abdul planned the murder.
Initial reports suggested that Abdul had given a contract of ₹5 lakh to Nadeem to carry out the murder, but investigations have revealed that the plot was hatched a long time back, said crime branch sources.
Investigations have revealed that Abdul had given a similar contract of ₹2 lakh to Ankit Trikha alias Ankit Punjabi in October 2019 to kill Shaikh. Trikha had followed the developer for almost 10 days while he used to walk to the mosque to offer prayers. Trikha tried to attack Shaikh but backed off at the last moment as there were too many people present near the mosque.
Trikha was reluctant to commit the murder and changed his mind, said crime branch officers. Later, he contacted a person named Anwar Mullah who lived in the same vicinity as that of the developer and allegedly told him about the murder contract.
“Anwar Mulla took Trikha to meet Shaikh at his residence and Trikha narrated the entire story to Shaikh, who had recorded the conversation on his phone. Shaikh had then approached DN Nagar police station with a complaint,” said a police officer, requesting anonymity.
DN Nagar police, however, did not register and offence but had questioned Abdul. Police had also questioned Trikha for two days without registering any offence, added crime branch sources.
“The manner in which Shaikh’s complaint was not registered, Abdul was let off indicates a larger plot,” said a crime branch officer. “It is not possible that Abdul could plan all by himself to kill Shaikh, and we have information that another group that deals in real estate in the area might be behind the murder,” he added.
“Preliminary inquiry reveals that the murder was due to a fall-out over a 6-acre slum plot on which Shaikh was to start an SRA project. It seems that someone associated with the underworld conspired to kill Shaikh through a local group that deals in real estate,” said the officer.
“We will inquire all possible angles on who had given the contract to Abdul and also probe any underworld involvement,” said senior inspector Mahesh Desai of the Unit 9.