Shooters of underworld don Chhota Shakeel gang were targeting not only the lawyer of Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament Varun Gandhi but also the advocates of right wing Hindu activist Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who is the prime accused in the Malegaon blasts case.
"Our probe revealed that they (the shooters of Chhota Shakeel gang) wanted to eliminate lawyers of Pragya Thakur," said sources in the Mumbai Crime Branch.
Advocates Ganesh Sovani and Naveen Chomal are representing the Sadhvi in the case.
When queried about the matter, Chomal said, "I met police officer Rakesh Maria who told me not to worry." He refused to give any more information on the issue.
On July 3, the Mumbai police arrested four alleged shooters Mohammed Aslam Ghachi alias Doctor (44), Kamil Anwar Ibzi alias John (24), Shahid Mohammed Ali Fakee alias Babu (26) and Arvindkumar Pathak alias Panditji (26) from south Mumbai. The four alleged members of the Shakeel gang were remanded to police custody till July 13. Shakeel is an aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
The shooters had planned to eliminate the lawyers for representing the people who were against Shakeel, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Rakesh Maria had said.
On September 29, 2008, six persons were killed and over 70 injured in blasts in the communally-sensitive textile town of Malegaon. Most of the arrested accused are believed to be members of a Hindu extremist group.