Mumbai: The city crime branch on Tuesday picked up the alleged supplier of the country-made gun used by Devendra Jagtap alias JD for last week’s attack on gangster Abu Salem inside Taloja Jail.
Manoj Lahmane was nabbed in Panvel by the antirobbery cell of the city crime branch, which is conducting a parallel probe into the attack that left Salem injured. A team led by assistant commissioner of police Praful Bhosle caught Lahmane after a tipoff, said sources.
Joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy said Lahmane was questioned. Lahmane will be handed over to the Navi Mumbai police on Wednesday. He allegedly supplied Rs 2 lakh and a country-made revolver to JD a few days before the shooting on Thursday.
JD had told the police that gangster Chhota Shakeel believed Salem was in contact with rival gangster Chhota Rajan. Sources said Lahmane was a key link between the shooter, JD, and Shakeel, who hatched the conspiracy to kill Salem. During his interrogation, JD told the police that a month-and-half prior to the attack he had given Shakeel’s cell number to Lahmane and asked him to contact him.
“Lahmane contacted Shakeel, who ordered a middleman to give Rs 2 lakh and an imported revolver to Lahmane,” an officer of Navi Mumbai crime branch said. “The middleman gave the money, but supplied a country-made revolver instead of an imported one. We are zeroing in on this middleman.”
The police on Tuesday grilled JD’s wife, Harshada, to find out if she had received money from Lahmane, who is a close friend of JD and, like him, a Mulund resident. On the day of the attack, Harshada and JD’s associate Karan had met JD at a sessions court where he had been brought for a hearing in the advocate Shahid Azmi murder case.
JD had pulled the trigger on Salem three times; one bullet missed, the second hit Salem on the hand, and the third did not fire as the trigger of the revolver jammed. Salem in his complaint said he believed 1993 blasts accused Mustafa Dossa, who had attacked him in Arthur Road jail in 2011, could be behind in the latest attack as well.
Doorframe detector at Arthur Road jail
Four days after the attack on Abu Salem in Taloja jail, the Arthur Road jail installed a doorframe metal detector and devices to detect explosives and arms at the entrance gate. The proposal to instal the devices to prevent smuggling of arms was pending for a year-and-a-half.
The Times of India, July 3, 2013