Mumbai Police today claimed to have foiled a plot to carry out a shooting attack on a corporator- cum-builder in Dombivali near here with the arrest of four henchmen of fugitive gangster Ravi Pujari and seizure of firearms.
Sanjeev Vashistha (32), Manishkumar Pande (27) - both residents of Delhi and their aides Rajesh Yadav (40) and Mahendra Dive (29) who hail from Dombivali in neighbouring Thane district -- were arrested yesterday from suburban Mulund in connection with the plot, police said.
Two firearms were also seized from the quartet, who was planning a daylight firing on Ramesh Mhatre, a Shiv Sena Corporator who is also into real estate business, police sources said. Acting on a specific information received by sleuths of Anti-Extortion Cell, a trap was laid near R-Mall at Mulund where the members of Pujari gang were found moving suspiciously.
"The sleuths apprehended the four and confiscated two sophisticated 7.65 bore pistols, 15 'live' rounds and mobile phones from them," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Dhananjay Kulkarni said. They were produced before a court, which remanded them in police custody till March 2.
"The arrested accused had been instructed to bump off a Dombivali-based politician, who is also a builder by profession. Our timely action has prevented a possible shooting at the politician," the DCP said. Preliminary probe suggested the accused were paid Rs 1.90 lakh as advance and were promised Rs 10 lakh more if they carried out the hit successfully, the sources said.
It appears to be a case of contract crime, but police did not identify the man who gave the contract. "The firearms were procured from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. The person who gave the contract to the gang to kill the politician seems to have a business rivalry with him," Kulkarni added. However, the DCP did not reveal the name of the person who gave the contract.