The three shooters hired to kill a Jogeshwari builder in police custody, and the bike seized from them
The three shooters hired to kill a Jogeshwari builder in police custody, and the bike seized from them

The crime branch has arrested three members of the Ejaz Lakdawala gang just minutes before they were about to kill a Jogeshwari-based builder, who had refused to pay Rs 2 crore extortion money to the gangster.

Calls behind bars
The detection has also brought to light the shocking fact about how audaciously underworld elements are using VoIP or voice over IP phones, inside jails.

The police said the complainant, who also owns a furniture shop in Jogeshwari, had been getting calls from the gangster and his men, demanding money, since 2015. Even after receiving many death threats, the builder had decided to approach the police. When the gangster found out about that, he ordered his elimination, also as a way to send a message to and terrorise other city builders.

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A crime branch source said that to ensure the authorities wouldn’t get his location, the gangster made Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls to his henchman Prashant Rao in Nashik jail, who is convicted in an MCOCA case — firing on a real estate broker in South Mumbai in 2011 suspected to be closely associated with Chhota Shakeel’s henchmen.

Rao, a Mira Road resident, through his contacts, managed to recruit 3 Mira Road youngsters who have serious criminals cases against them, including murder to attempt ones.

A trap in advance
The three were promised Rs 1 lakh each, with Rs 50,000 given as advance, and ordered to kill the builder at his Jogeshwari office on Sunday. However, Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) officers, who had already received information about the plan, had laid trap at the builder’s office 10 days prior on the instructions of joint commissioner of police and additional commissioner of police (crime).

DCP (detection) supervised the operation and the AEC team on Sunday arrested two accused from outside the builder’s office; the third accused was picked up from Mira Road. A 7.65 mm pistol and five live rounds, a two-wheeler, choppers and mobile phones were seized from the accused — Sagar Jayram Indulkar (25), Ankush Sudhir Tayde (21) and Sagar Suresh Chavan (24).

A senior crime branch officer said Lakdawala has been named as the main accused in the case. The crime branch will soon move an application in court for Rao’s custody.