Posted On Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 12:30:27 AM
The interrogation of the three shooters arrested for the murder of lawyer Shahid Azmi has thrown up the names of at least six other lawyers who are said to have been on their hit list.
Most of them have fought cases for Dawood Ibrahim’s men at some point or the other.
Devendra Babu Jagtap alias JD (28), Pintoo Deoram Dagale (25) and Vinod Yashwant Vichare (32) were arrested by the crime branch on February 16.
All of them are connected to Bharat Nepali’s gang and confessed to having shot the 32-year-old lawyer in his Kurla office on February 11.
The murder was contracted by Nepali and his associate Vijay alias Baba Shetty paid the shooters Rs one lakh for the crime.
The accused were arrested by Inspector Arun Chavhan and Assistant Inspector Shripad Kale attached to the property cell, which is a unit of the Crime Branch.
During the investigation, all three confessed that their boss Bharat Nepali had assured them if they managed to kill Azmi, they would be given more such assignments.
According to a Crime Branch source, the accused also told the police that Nepali’s hit list had six other lawyers. Sources have spelled out the names of these six lawyers, all of whom have handled cases for Dawood Ibrahim’s men at some point in time or the other.
Shahid Azmi was the defence lawyer for 26/11 Mumbai terror attack-accused Fahim Ansari.
This, apparently, made all of them a prime target for Nepali, who is reportedly out to establish himself as a patriotic don.
Mirror is in possession of Bharat Nepali’s hit list, but since the lawyers concerned have denied receiving threat alerts, we have not published it.
Between them they have handled several high-profile cases including the 1993 blasts, the Zaveri Bazaar blast, the Daya Nayak and Salman Khan cases and several D-gang cases.
“None of these lawyers have demanded police protection and neither have we offered any protection to them,” claimed Additional Commissioner of Police (Protection) Naval Bajaj.