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Three nabbed for killing 26/11 lawyer Azmi

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 03:56:08 PM, IANS

Sleuths investigating at Shahid Azmi's office after he was gunned down by unidentified men on February 11.

(Photo: Imtiyaz Shaikh)

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Mumbai: Three people were arrested here Tuesday for the killing of lawyer Shahid Azmi, who was defending Faheem Ansari, one of the accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks trial, officials said.


The crime branch of the Mumbai Police arrested three people - Devendra Baburao Jagtap (28), Pintu Deendra Dhagle (25) and Vinod Yeshwant Vidhate (32) - in connection with what was the contract killing, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Rakesh Maria said here.


The three men had taken a contract of Rs.100,000 to kill Azmi and Jagtap was the main executor of the plan, he said.


"The contract (supari) to eliminate Azmi was given by Bharat Nepali and Vijay Shetty alias Bala. Nepali, wanted in nearly 17 serious offences, is a former associate of the absconding mafia don Chhota Rajan's gang," Maria said.


Azmi was shot at close range February 11 in his Kurla office by three assailants who came in an autorickshaw. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead.


While Jagtap and Dhagle were among the three who fired at Azmi, a fourth associate, Hasmukh Shankar Solanki alias Rohit, is absconding, Maria said.

"The motive behind Azmi's killing is yet to be ascertained and we are further probing the matter," he said.


Vidhate acted as the link between the assailants and Nepali and had surveyed Azmi's office twice between Feb 6 and Feb 11 and had collected the contract money from Nepali and handed it to Jagtap, Maria said.


While Jagtap and Solanki are history-sheeters, Vidhate, who has no criminal record, worked as a data processing supervisor in a company at Nariman Point.


Police also recovered two 7.62 mm pistols, a 9mm pistol and mobile phones and are contemplating charging the attackers under the severe Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).










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