|A TALE OF TWO FRIENDS: Avdesh Singh (left) and Hemant Pujari attended the same school at Kherwadi, Bandra, in the 1980s |
Gangsters Avdesh Singh and Hemant Pujari were classmates at a school in Kherwadi, Bandra, in the 1980s and had remained friends since. Singh was gunned down in a police encounter at Sahar yesterday evening, as the police believe he was going to join Pujari’s gang.
Mumbai’s cops say a delay in eliminating Singh could have resulted in a spate of looting, robberies and underworld killings across the city.
“Pujari recently tried to convince Singh to join him. The two gangsters would have made a menacing combination,” said Sub-Inspector Ninad Sawant, a member of the encounter squad.
Singh would hire unemployed youth from Uttar Pradesh, give them Rs 5,000 and factory-made handguns and dispatch them to Mumbai to eliminate a target.
On their return, the gunmen were paid another installment of Rs 5,000, and asked to lie low.
Pujari, on the other hand, specialises in underworld killings, and is wanted in connection with six murders in Mumbai. He is also good at extorting money from hoteliers.
Pujari, who broke away from Chhota Rajan in 2001, hires men from the back streets of Nirmal Nagar and Khar (East), where he grew up. He is known to have plans to align with Chhota Shakeel, don Dawood Ibrahim’s right-hand man.
Police records indicate Singh and his family had recently moved to Malvani in Malad after the police turned the heat on him.
Singh was an enigma, as he kept a low profile. The police knew very little about until the squad caught up with him yesterday.