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Salman Khan firing case: Another Bishnoi gang member arrested

Updated on: 08 May,2024 06:58 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faizan Khan |

Crime Branch says he also recced residences of other celebs, sent videos to Bishnoi

Salman Khan firing case: Another Bishnoi gang member arrested

Mumbai police outside Salman Khan’s house after firing incident

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Salman Khan firing case: Another Bishnoi gang member arrested

The Crime Branch has apprehended the fifth accused in the Salman Khan firing case from Kurla, who originally hailed from the Nagaur district in Rajasthan. His brother owned a prominent dairy shop in Kurla where he frequently visited. The Crime Branch said Mohammed Rafiq Chaudhary had met the shooters in Kurla and provided them with cash. He also informed them that he had larger tasks ahead, and their role was merely to instil fear by firing outside Khan’s residence, with the final actions to be executed by him.

Furthermore, officers stated that Chaudhary conducted a reconnaissance of Salman Khan’s residence on April 12 and shared videos with Anmol Bishnoi. Additionally, he had filmed the residences of other celebrities as well. The crime branch is investigating the motive behind recording these videos, suspecting that the gang may be planning to target other celebrities.

“We are conducting investigations to determine Chaudhary’s precise role and his connections with the gang members,” said DCP Datta Nalawade from the detection department. Officers also alleged that he met with the shooters (Sagar Pal and Vicky Gupta) in Kurla on two occasions—April 8 and April 11—purportedly providing them with Rs 1 lakh in cash.

According to the Crime Branch, Chaudhary was in regular contact with Anmol Bishnoi and another active gang member Rohit Godara who is suspected to be in the US along with Anmol. “There were frequent conversations between Godara and Chaudhary in the days leading up to the firing, indicating that he provided vital information about Salman Khan’s movements and conducted reconnaissance of his residence,” said an officer.

Officers said that the shooters also conducted reconnaissance of Salman’s farmhouse in Panvel, considering it an alternate location for the firing. However, they opted for Bandra instead, as Salman was frequently visible when exiting his residence in Galaxy Apartments, whereas he typically stayed inside his car before leaving his Panvel premises, making it difficult to spot him. The decision to fire in Bandra was made to instil greater fear and convey the message that they were not afraid, asserting that if they could carry out the shooting in Bandra, they could target him anywhere.

The Crime Branch discovered that Chaudhary had been in contact with the Bishnoi gang since 2020, leading to his brother distancing himself. While there are currently no legal cases against him, his history indicates ongoing communication with Anmol Bishnoi and Godara since 2020. “His interactions with the shooters in Kurla indicate his involvement in larger tasks. A thorough investigation is required to determine the nature of his assigned role and the timing of execution. Given his presence during the firing incident, we suspect his involvement in targeting the actor for assassination alongside other shooters,” said an officer.

The officer added that Chaudhary was involved in the planning and the financing. The plan to fire outside Khan’s residence was devised over the past two months, involving reconnaissance, renting a house in Panvel, and purchasing a two-wheeler.

According to the Crime Branch, Chaudhary, a school dropout, is married with four children. He frequently visited his brother’s dairy shop in Kurla but was not significantly involved in any work. “Family members are being questioned, and it’s evident that he was not well-liked within the family due to his suspicious activities,” added an officer.

Chaudhary has been residing in Mumbai for 22 years, initially running a dairy shop in Dongri with his brother before relocating to Kurla. Following the firing incident on April 14, Chaudhary fled to Rajasthan on April 17. He was brought before the MCOCA court in Mumbai, where his legal representatives argued that he had been wrongfully arrested in the case. “He has been brought to Mumbai and remanded to our custody until April 13 for further investigation,” said DCP Nalawade.

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