Two persons, including a former corporator, were arrested on Monday morning by Mumbai Police in connection with the murder of a 72-year-old RTI activist.
“Amjad Khan, 53, and his father Razzaq Khan, 78, were arrested today morning on charges of murder of Bhupendra Vira. Razzak was earlier a corporator in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. It looks like a land dispute led to the Khans killing Vira,” Mumbai Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Dudhe said.
Razzaq Khan is a former corporator of the Congress from Santacruz area.
Vira, who had been fighting against land mafia, unauthorised structures and encroachments in and around Mumbai’s surburban area of Kalina, was shot dead at point blank range on Saturday night when he was watching TV at his residence.
The shooter is suspected to have used a silencer, as Vira’a wife, who despite being in the house claimed that she did not hear anything, a police official involved in the probe said.
Police had earlier said they were inquiring if Vira had approached them with any complaint -- that he faced threat to his life.
The activist is survived by a daughter and two sons.
Social activist and former Aam Aadmi Party leader Anjali Damania, who had worked with Vira, on Sunday said he was attached to ‘Voice of Kalina’, an advanced locality management body and a citizen’s group.
Describing him as committed social worker, Damania had said, “Vira along with other members of the ALM were fighting against encroachments, illegal structures and land mafia in and around Kalina by filing RTIs. He had written several letters to authorities including, Lokayukta, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and police, seeking action against illegal structures.”
According to her, several activists had received threats and many of them, including Vira, had filed several complaints at Vakola police station in this regard.
She said that on Saturday morning, Vira had persuaded the BMC authorities to issue four notices to a local goon living in the same area.
Image: RTI activists from Mumbai seen gathered outside a 72-year-old RTI activist Bhupendra Viras residence on Sunday in Mumbai. Photograph: PTI photo