Mumbai: Three months after criminal lawyer
Shahid Azmi was shot dead by goons, police on Thursday filed a
1200-page chargesheet against ten members of the infamous
Bharat Nepali gang in a designated Maharashtra Control of
Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) Court.
Azmi was defending Faheem Ansari in the 26/11 trial.
Ansari was recently acquitted by the court due to lack of
Azmi was shot dead in his suburban Kurla office on
February 11 allegedly by four sharp shooters of Nepali gang.
The assailants fired five bullets at Azmi from a close range
following which the lawyer succumbed to his injuries, the
Of the ten accused, police have arrested four associates
of Nepali -- Devendra Babu Jagtap alias JD, Pintoo Deoram
Dagale, Vinod Yashwant Vichare and Hasmukh Solanki -- while
six more, including Nepali and his close aide Vijay Shetty,
are still absconding. The arrested persons had shot dead Azmi.
The accused have been booked under various sections of
Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and MCOCA, Senior Inspector (crime
branch) Ramesh Mahale, told agency.
Azmi, who was nephew of Samajwadi Party leader and
Govandi MLA Abu Asim Azmi, had also appeared as defence
counsel for the accused in July 11 Mumbai local train blasts.
"There are 95 witnesses in the case including two
eyewitnesses. Inder Singh, who was working in Azmi`s office,
is the prime witness," Mahale said.
The chargesheet includes the statements of witnesses and
narrates sequence of events that led to the murder, he added.
"Four pistols were recovered from the accused. The
ballistic report obtained from the forensic lab corroborates
that the bullets shot at Azmi were fired from the weapons
seized from the accused," he said.
Public Prosecutor Kalpana Chavan claimed, "Nepali had
given contract to kill Azmi as he believed that the lawyer was
defending those who according to him are anti-nationals."
The shooting was part of Nepali`s efforts to establish
his supremacy in the underworld, she added.
According to police, the murder was executed on the
instructions of Nepali and his associate Vijay alias Baba
Shetty who had paid Rs one lakh to the killers.
Nepali, a former close associate of underworld don Chhota
Rajan, had split from the gang and formed his own outfit. He
was also the prime accused in the murder of trade union leader
Datta Samant here in 1997.
"We have mentioned in the chargesheet that the accused
Devendra Babu and Hasmukh Solanki had seen two photographs of
Azmi on email before murdering him," Mahale said.
The two had visited a cyber cafe in suburban Mulund, he
said adding the owner of the cafe had also identified the duo.
The four shooters had also received over 50 phone calls
from Bangkok before and after the murder, he said.