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Ghaziabad: Former international Kabaddi player held in BJP leader’s murder case

Police said, Pehalwan was a member of Indian Kabaddi team that won gold medal in 2007 Asian championship held in Sri Lanka.

noida Updated: Sep 22, 2017 14:47 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Delhi police,international Kabaddi player,Gajendra Bhati
The special cell of the Delhi police on Wednesday arrested a former international Kabaddi player, Raj Kumar alias Raju Pehalwan, who is one of the two shooters involved in the daylight murder of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gajendra Bhati.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

The special cell of the Delhi police on Wednesday arrested a former international Kabaddi player, Raj Kumar alias Raju Pehalwan, who is one of the two shooters involved in the daylight murder of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gajendra Bhati.

Bhati was gunned down on September 2 ,by two bike borne men in Khoda. Narendra Gurjar alias Fauji, one of the two alleged shooters, was nabbed by Ghaziabad police crime branch on September 11. Fauji had told police that the entire conspiracy to kill Bhati out of a political rivalry was allegedly hatched by former Sahibabad legislator Amarpal Sharma.

“Pehalwan has driving the bike while Fauji was on the pillion when they intercepted Bhati and the other local BJP functionary, Blabir Chauhan, during the incident. Fauji had given a pistol to Pehalwan and had told him to use it in case he faltered. However, Fauji fired several rounds which led Bhati dead on the spot while Chauhan suffered injuries,” said Brajesh Kumar Singh, superintendent of police (crime), Ghaziabad.

According to sources, Pehalwan had contacted Fauji and sought his help in safe passage of trucks from check posts in Ghaziabad. In return, Fauji asked him to help out in two cases, murder of Bhati and another killing at Loni.

“Former MLA Sharma had arranged a meeting at his farmhouse in Loni. There Fauji, a former personal security officer of the ex-MLA, was also present with several persons. A plan was hatched to gun down Bhati who was a political rival to Sharma. The latter had offered Rs 10 lakh to Fauji for Bhati’s murder. However, Pehalwan was also present near the meeting venue at Jawli in Loni but he did not attend the meeting. Later, Fauji asked him to gear up and both went to Khoda to attempt Bhati’s killing,” said a police source.

After the incident on the day of Eid festival, Fauji and Pehalwan fled from Khoda.

The special cell of the Delhi police later arrested Pehalwan from Siras Pur area of Delhi and was planning to change his hideout. Their counterparts in Ghaziabad took him on transit remand on Thursday.

According to an official of the special cell, Pehalwan had taken advance money of Rs 30,000 for another contract for killing, fixed at Rs 8 lakh, of a mall owner in Loni. The Ghaziabad police said that the contract killing was offered to Pehalwan by Suraj and Parmod, both residents of Loni.

According to initial questioning by the special cell, Pehalwan said that he had been a part of Indian Kabaddi team that won gold medal in 2007 Asian championship held in Sri Lanka.

He completed his bachelors in physical education in 2004 and was offered a private job in Ghaziabad and played various national and international tournaments.

During the years 2005 to 2009 he represented Uttar Pradesh at national level and in the year 2007 he played at international level at Sri Lanka and won Gold medal. After his marriage in 2009, he left the job and started his own business of manufacturing sportswear at Greater Noida.

Since 2013, his enmity developed with Gajendra Bhati and later he had to wind up the business.

During sustained interrogation by the special cell, he also disclosed that he has links with Noida’s notorious gang led by Anil Dujana, a fierce rival of Sunder Bhati gang. Both gangs have been involved in gang wars that led to murders in order to eliminate each other.

The officials of the special cell said that Pahelwan disclosed that in 2013, he developed enmity with Bhati after a road rage incident. Pehalwan was several injured then and a case of attempt to murder was lodged against Bhati. The case was later compromised before a court. But Bhati was threatening him one way or the other, they added.

For now, the Ghaziabad police have already obtained non bailable warrants against former MLA Sharma and several teams are trying to track him for his alleged involvement in Bhati murder case.

Sharma, who was ousted from the Bahujan Samaj Party and joined the Congress before UP assembly polls, had denied his role behind the murder and claimed it was a conspiracy to frame him.

First Published: Sep 22, 2017 14:47 IST