In a shocking revelation, the Mangaluru Police on Tuesday claimed that Mohammed Fazil was killed in retaliation to the murder of BJP youth leader Praveen Nettaru in Bellare village of Dakshin Kannada district in Karnataka. The police further stated that Fazil’s murder was “pre-planned” and they have already nabbed six suspects in connection with the case.
According to the police, all the six arrested have a criminal past, including murder and assault cases in Mangaluru City and the Dakshina Kannada district.
After Nettaru’s gruesome murder late last month, the gang had come up with a list of six names. Mangaluru Police Commissioner N Shashikumar said they were in the process of determining who else was there on the list.
The six arrested include 29-year-old Suhas Shetty, 26-year-old Mohan Singh alias Nepali Mohan, 23-year-old Giridhar, 25-year-old Abhishek and 23-year-old Srinivas Katipalla, all of whom have two prior criminal cases against them; and 21-year-old Deekshit Katipalla.
Two days after Nettaru’s murder, Fazil, a worker at the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) was killed on the outskirts of Mangaluru city on July 28. Four men had chased down Fazil, and later cornered him in an apparel store where he was seeking refuge.
“It has emerged from our investigation that Mohammed Fazil was specifically targeted. They kept a watch over his house, identified him and then targeted him. It was not a case of mistaken identity,” Commissioner Shashikumar said.
The officer said the accused were keeping a prior track of Fazil’s movement and had also recce’d the place where he went for work. “He identified the victim as a target… There was a discussion about five or six other people as well and the department is carrying out investigations about the persons that the gang may have targeted,” said the top cop, while adding, “They considered where the people would be and how easily they could be targeted… They picked Mohammed Fazil as the target on the morning of July 28 and began tracking his movements.”
The Police Commissioner stated that the group first started planning the incident on the night of Nettaru’s murder “resolving to murder someone” over the phone. “They later met and discussed, and in this situation, a murder was committed. We cannot say whether it (the killing) was linked to any other crime. Once we investigate them in custody, all the details will emerge,” Shashikumar said.
Shashikumar said that they will be aiming to establish links between the suspects and the accused in their chargesheet. “There are some interpretations that emerge from the background of the people involved and we will present these to the court in the chargesheet,” said the officer.