Andheri encounter: Sandeep Gadoli's pistol may have been planted by cops
Allegations that gangster Sandeep Gadoli was killed in a fake encounter are gathering momentum with the investigation so far suggesting that he may not even have been armed. According to sources in the Mumbai Crime Branch investigating the case, CCTV footage from the hotel shows the Gurgaon cops shooting at Gadoli and then throwing a pistol near him, later claiming it was his firearm.
(Inset) Sandeep Gadoli's sisters had earlier alleged that a Gurgaon officer had been paid off to kill him by a rival gangster. File pics
The only witness who can corroborate whether Gadoli had a gun on him that day is his girlfriend, who was present in the hotel room at the time of the shootout. However, she has already changed her statement five times.
Gadoli had over 36 serious criminal offences registered against him and a bounty of R1.25 lakh on his head. On February 7, a team of eight cops from Gurgaon headed by Inspector Praduman Yadav barged into his room at an Andheri hotel and shot him in an encounter. Gadoli received three bullet injuries – two in the abdomen and one in the chest – and died on the spot.
The only witness in the room was his girlfriend, with whom he had been travelling. However, her memory of the firing is shaky, according to the investigators. An officer said, “When we were taking her statement, she said that Gadoli did not have a pistol. Later, she said Gadoli did have a pistol. We have taken her statement five times and she has changed her version each time.”
According to sources, the woman was in constant touch with her mother and this was how the Gurgaon team learnt of Gadoli’s whereabouts. Her mother would pass on the information to the cops, who had been following Gadoli for two days.
Sources in the Mumbai Crime Branch said they have also learnt that one of the Gurgaon cops planted Gadoli’s pistol. This was captured on CCTV. “During primary investigations, we learnt from the hotel staff that a pistol had been thrown towards Gadoli. Later, they claimed Gadoli had the firearm and he had fired first. We have given the CCTV footage to the forensic lab, which will give a clear picture in the case,” the official added.
An officer added that the Gurgaon cops had even tried to damage a CCTV camera facing Gadoli’s room, but this act was captured by another CCTV camera. Currently, all the Gurgaon cops are in Mumbai, facing a probe by an SIT (Special Investigation Team).
Cops in touch with rival gang
Investigations also revealed that the Gurgaon cops were in constant touch with Gadoli’s arch enemy, the leader of a rival gang in Gurgaon. “We got the call details of the Gurgaon cops involved in the encounter and found they were in constant touch with the rival gang members before the encounter,” said an officer. The cops suspect the rival gang may have given the Gurgaon cops supari to end Gadoli’s life — a suspicion that was also aired by Gadoli’s family in a petition to the Bombay High Court, as they sought an FIR against the encounter team (Gurgaon ACP took R5 crore to kill Sandeep in cold blood’).