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Did Mumbai police avert gang war by arresting 2 Chhota Shakeel men?

Mumbai police claims to have foiled a deadly gang war with the arrest of two Chhota Shakeel gang members, who were allegedly conspiring to gun down two members of Chhota Rajan's group

Mumbai police on Thursday claimed to have foiled a deadly gang war, with the arrest of two close aides of Chhota Shakeel gang, who allegedly conspired to gun down two key lieutenants of a rival group headed by Chhota Rajan.

D K Rao, who has a history of recruiting sharpshooters and lieutenants for mafia don Chhota Rajan gang, was one of the two targets, police said.

Chhota Shakeel allegedly planned to kill Rao in the sessions court premises here, when he was brought for hearing from Taloja jail in the neighbouring Navi Mumbai city, they said.

"Acting on a tip-off, a trap was laid and the accused Mohammed Mahir Siddhique (30) and Akhtar Jamal Khan (35) who are both associates of gangster Chhota Shakeel were arrested near Noor Hotel at Dharavi in Central Mumbai yesterday," Sadanand Date, Joint Police Commissioner (crime) said.

"A sophisticated 0.32-bore revolver, four live cartridges and incriminating articles were confiscated from them. The joint operation by the Anti-Extortion cell and the Crime Intelligence Unit prevented a major crime in the nick of time," Date said.

The second target also was a key member of the Chhota Rajan gang, he said. Mohammed Siddhique who has been arrested, was acquitted earlier, in a fake passport case registered against him by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad.

Siddhique was released from jail in February, after which he arrived here from Uttar Pradesh a few months ago, he said.

Akhtar Jamal Khan, who is the second accused, has criminal cases registered against him in the city, he said.

Both the arrested gangsters were in direct touch with Shakeel, who is a close associate of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, he said.

"Shakeel ensured that cash and weapons reached the two, who were constantly planning to execute the killings," he said. Date said that the accused were in the final stage of executing the plan when they were caught. "They were produced before court today which remanded them to police custody till September 9," he said.

"We are trying to ascertain the reason for choosing these targets and how much money was offered to carry out this act," Date said. 

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