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Shooters surveyed Salman's Panvel farmhouse before Bandra house attack

Source: PTI
April 19, 2024 00:40 IST
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Two men arrested for firing outside Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's residence in Mumbai had conducted a survey of his farm house at Panvel in adjoining Raigad district four days before the shooting incident, police said on Thursday.

IMAGE: The two accused, Vicky Gupta and Sagar Pal, arrested by Gujarat police in connection with the Salman Khan house shooting case being brought to the Mumbai crime branch, April 15, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Prima facie, the duo's main objective behind firing outside Khan's residence in Galaxy Apartments in upscale Bandra on early Sunday morning was to create "terror", a police official said, citing investigation conducted so far into the sensational incident.


During their custodial interrogation, the accused, Vicky Gupta (24) and Sagar Pal (21), told Mumbai Crime Branch officials that they had conducted a recce of Aprita Farms, Khan's sprawling farm house at Panvel, four days before opening fire outside his residence in Mumbai on April 14, he said.

The 58-year-old actor frequently visits the farm house, located around 60km from Mumbai, the official said.

As part of their evidence gathering exercise, police were examining CCTV cameras installed at the gate of the farm house and nearby areas. The duo, hailing from Bihar, had rented a house almost 10km away from the property in the Harigram area of Panvel, he said.

Both the accused, apprehended by a Mumbai Crime Branch team from Bhuj in Kutch district of adjoining Gujarat within 48 hours of the firing incident, have admitted to their involvement in the offence, said the official.

Police have received important information about the conspiracy angle in the episode and they were verifying details and corroborating them with evidence gathered so far, he said.

The weapon, a pistol, used in the firing was delivered to Gupta and Pal at their rented home by two persons almost 25 days before the incident, he said.

Prima facie it seems the primary aim of the firing was to create "terror" and that is why the duo, who were on a motorbike, chose early hours to execute their plan, noted the official.

Vicky Gupta and Pal had received payment in cash by their handlers for executing the task assigned to them, but their bank accounts were also being examined, he informed.

Pal, who had fired five rounds outside Khan's residence from a moving motorbike, had undergone training in firing at his native village in Bihar's West Champaran district sometime after mid-March before arriving in Mumbai in the first week of April, said the official.

The Mumbai police have detained 19-year-old Sonu Gupta, younger brother of Vicky Gupta, from Chandigarh and his possible role in the crime is being investigated, he said.

Sonu Gupta is among various persons who are being questioned, the official said.

Vicky Gupta's residence in West Champaran district has been searched by a Crime Branch team which also questioned his parents and another brother, he said.

Police were also making enquiries with Pal's family members, the official said.

During investigation, it also came to light that a Facebook account with the name of Anmol Bishnoi, younger brother of jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, was created from abroad three hours before the firing (which took place around 5am Indian time), he said.

A post claiming responsibility for the firing was uploaded on the same Facebook account, the official informed.

He said the IP (Internet Protocol) address of the post was traced to Portugal and it is suspected the message was uploaded using VPN (virtual private network), a tool which allows a user to remotely access a private network for purposes of privacy and security.

During interrogation, the police tried to find out how the duo came into contact with Anmol Bishnoi and joined his gang, the official said.

So far, Anmol Bishnoi has not been named as an accused in the case, but his prima facie role is visible in the crime, he said.

Vicky Gupta and Pal were nabbed from a village in Kutch district on late Monday night and produced the next day before a Mumbai court which sent them to police custody till April 25.

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