The gangster who can't shoot
Having misfired twice at builders, Prashant Rao injured a worker on his third assignment; he and two other Lakdawala gangsters were arrested yesterday
If not for all, number three has certainly spelt misfortune for accused gangster Prashant Rao.
A rookie in the gang of underworld don Ejaz Lakdawala, Rao is yet to prove his mettle in gangland. But he may not get another opportunity to do that anytime soon.
Gangster boss Ejaz Lakdawala showed immense faith by giving his gang member three chances to kill. Prashant Rao failed twice, only injuring a worker the third time. He along with, two other gang members was arrested yesterday
After a third failed attempt to extort money from builders, cops finally got him in their net. He is currently in the custody of Mumbai Crime Branch who arrested him yesterday.
The 32-year-old is one of three members of the Lakdawala gang arrested by Crime Branch Unit III for opening fire at the construction site of Nirvan builders at Peerkhan Street in Nagpada on October 1.
Rao, mastermind of the plan, was arrested along with Nilesh Jatanna (24) who lives in Dahisar, and Riyaz Sheikh (43), a resident of Jogeshwari. Sohail Majid, a 23-year-old worker had sustained injuries in the firing.
According to Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy, Lakdawala ordered the firing after the builder had refused to pay him extortion money. Police have recovered four pistols and nine live rounds from the accused.
Rao met his accomplice, Jatanna, at a religious establishment in Dahisar, where the duo indulged in drug abuse together.
Rao convinced Jatanna to join the gang while his other accomplice, Riyaz, shouldered the responsibility of keeping the weapons safe.
The three will be produced in court today. Rao, who met Ejaz Lakdawala's brother Iqbal a year ago, expressed interest in working for the gang. Iqbal introduced him to Ejaz and he was roped into the gang.
In February this year, Rao was given a sum of Rs 25,000 to shoot the owner of Shah Group at Galaxy building, Sector 17, Vashi, Navi Mumbai. Lakdawala also gave him the weapon. However, he ended up misfiring. A case was registered in the Vashi police station.
But Lakdawala, reinstating faith in Rao, gave him a second chance and assigned him the task of firing at the Chunawala builder in DN Nagar Andheri in July. He gave Rao Rs 20,000 as 'goodwill' amount. But Rao misfired again.
Another case was registered in the DN Nagar police station. Unlike many others, Rao was lucky to have his second mistake forgiven.
Lakdawala, for a third time, gave him an even higher amount of Rs 50,000 for firing at a builder in Nagpada.
On October 1, Rao, giving a slight rise to his performance graph, managed to injure one worker at the site, and even succeeded in fleeing from the spot with two of his accomplices.
However, despite escaping the wrath of underworld bosses, Rao's flight has now been cut short by the Crime Branch.
The third shot
Sources said that the southeast Asia-based fugitive Ejaz Lakdawala had made extortion calls to the proprietor of the 36-year-old real estate firm who he had ordered Rao to shoot on October 1.
The developer, who is known for his proximity to Karachi-based fugitive gangster Chhota Shakeel, allegedly refused to give into Ejaz's demands, provoking the gangster's anger, media reports said.
Lakdawala had made many extortion calls to the developer since September and ordered Rao to open fire outside the construction site to create fear to extort money.