Was gangster Sandeep Gadoli's death not a real police encounter but the result of Gurgaon's gang wars following him to Mumbai? Clearly, his family thinks so — alleging that he was killed in a fake encounter at the behest of a rival mobster, they have moved the Bombay High Court seeking an FIR against the Gurgaon cops involved in the shootout. They have even named an ACP who they claim took Rs 5 crore to end Sandeep's life.
Sandeep’s sisters had earlier alleged that a Gurgaon officer had vowed to shoot him dead. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Their petition will be heard on Monday by the HC bench comprising Justices Ranjit More and V L Achaliya. In the application, Sandeep's brother Kuldeep Singh states that a fake encounter was staged to kill the gangster after the Gurgaon police were given supari by Gurgaon politician and rival don, Binder Gujjar.
Gangster-turned-municipal councillor Binder is presently lodged in prison for a property dealer's murder. For quite some time, the Gujjar and Gadoli gangs have been locked in bloody rivalry, which blew up in October after Binder's driver was allegedly shot dead by Sandeep's men, leading to a retaliatory killing of his accomplice. After this, the Gurgaon police launched an investigation into the alleged corrupt nexus between officers and the underworld.
“Binder, who was once a friend of Sandeep's, turned into his rival as both of them were into land developing in Gurgaon. Binder was making efforts to eliminate Sandeep while he himself is in jail, so nobody would suspect him,” said Kuldeep.
Sandeep's brother Kuldeep, in his petition, goes as far as to say it was Assistant Commissioner of Police (Gurgaon) Rajesh Gujjar who took R5 crore from Binder to kill Sandeep in a staged encounter.
“The injury marks on my brother's body clearly point towards a murder in cold blood, not an encounter. There are swellings on his neck that show that he was first caught and then fired at. Also, there is one bullet injury in his back and two on his abdomen; bullet injuries in opposite directions are not possible in an encounter,” said Kuldeep.
In an earlier front-page report by mid-day ('In cold blood', February 10), the three forensic experts from JJ Hospital who conducted Sandeep's post-mortem said two bullets had entered his abdomen — on the left and right — and the third entered through his left shoulder and came out from the left chest anterior side.
The petition also claims that the Gurgaon police destroyed CCTV footage at the hotel to ensure no evidence was left behind. The document further adds that the family had been threatened by the cops in the past, and CCTV footage had been destroyed then as well. However, the family provided the court with a mobile phone clip of the incident, which they claim shows Gurgaon Police PSI Praduman (who was also part of the encounter team) enter Sandeep's home, AK-47 in hand, and threaten the whole family.
The application finally concludes that the Gurgaon police did not take any help from Mumbai Police — particularly the MIDC police in whose jurisdiction the hotel falls — as they had already decided to kill Sandeep and not catch him alive. They said the Gurgaon cops received their information about the gangster's whereabouts from the Facebook page of Divya Pahuja, the Indian woman who was travelling with Sandeep. She was in his room at the time of the shooting and is now prime witness. The family also stated Sandeep's mother Murti Devi had already approached the Haryana government for help to investigate the shootout. They are currently stationed in Mumbai and will be attending the hearing on Monday.
“We want an FIR of murder and criminal conspiracy against Crime Branch PSI Praduman, Paramjeet Singh, Vikram Singh, ACP Rajesh Gujjar — all attached with Gurgaon Police. We are also demanding a judicial inquiry and forensic opinion on the Sandeep's body to know how exactly he was killed,” said the family's advocate, Tanveer Nizam.