Salman firing case: Original Aadhaar cards, bike documents helped cops to identify suspects

PTI, Apr 17, 2024, 10:14 AM IST

Bollywood actor Salman Khan

Mumbai: The original Aadhaar cards submitted by two suspects, wanted in connection with the firing at actor Salman Khan’s Bandra residence, for a rent agreement and bike purchase documents helped police to establish their identities, an official said on Tuesday.

After identifying the duo, police used human and technical intelligence to track them.

Joint teams of the Kutch-West and Mumbai Police nabbed Vicky Gupta (24) and Sagar Pal (21) late Monday night from Mata No Madh village in Gujarat, less than 48 hours after one of them had opened fire at Khan’s house.

“A preliminary probe suggested that both Sagar Pal and Vicky Gupta were hired by the gang of Lawrence Bishnoi to open fire at Khan’s house,” Deputy Inspector General of Police, Kutch West, Mahendra Bagadiya, said earlier in the day.

A Mumbai Police official said the duo, originally from Champaran in Bihar, travelled to Mumbai Central station on February 28.

They rented a house near Panvel city in Raigad, around 13 km away from Salman Khan’s farmhouse, he said.

However, it is not known whether they had conducted a recce of the farmhouse.

He also said the duo used their original Aadhaar cards for a rent agreement.

“The agreement was made with the house owner wherein the one-time deposit is fixed at Rs 10,000 and monthly rent at Rs 3,500,” he said.

After staying for a few days in Panvel, the duo travelled to Champaran on March 18 for Holi celebrations. They returned on April 1, he said.

On April 2, Vicky Gupta purchased a second-hand motorcycle from a two-wheeler agent in Navi Mumbai for Rs 24,000, he said.

After a few days, a pistol to be used for firing was delivered to them in Mumbai by their operator, the official said.

Police had recovered a live round from the spot after the firing incident in the early hours of April 14.

“Considering the make of the round, police suspect a good quality weapon was used,” he said.

Preliminary probe suggested that Pal, who was riding pillion on the motorcycle, opened fire, while Gupta remained in touch with gang members while riding the bike.

After opening fire, the duo abandoned the bike near Mount Mary Church in Bandra, went to the local railway station and boarded a Borivali-bound local train, the official said.

“They alighted at Santacruz railway station and from Vakola area, they hired a car to go to Surat. From Surat, they travelled to Bhuj in a state transport bus,” he said.

They dumped the firearm used in the crime in a river while heading to Surat.

“Police are trying to establish the identity of the person who provided the duo logistical support and money for their stay in Panvel and also for purchasing the bike and other expenses,” the official said.

Speaking about how the breakthrough was achieved, Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Lakhmi Gautam said, “With the help of human and technical intelligence, the crime branch team received information that the accused persons were in Gujarat, following which two teams were sent to nab them”.

He said there was a possibility that the accused persons were carrying weapons.

“As the terrain of Bhuj was unknown to our officials, the Bhuj Superintendent of Police was informed about the accused persons,” he said.

A team from the Bhuj crime branch joined Mumbai Police officials around 60 km away from Bhuj.

“After travelling around 40 kilometres farther, the two accused were nabbed by the team. They were brought to Mumbai this morning,” said Lakhmi Gautam.

Another official said the police first traced the original owner of the motorcycle to Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai.

The official said the owner directed them to the agent, who showed the documents submitted for the purchase of the bike.

Based on these documents, which included a rent agreement, police contacted the house owner. The Aadhaar cards revealed the identity of the duo, he added.

Meanwhile, Lakhmi Gautam said there is good coordination among sister agencies as Mumbai Police and their Gujarat counterpart separately claimed credit for the arrest.

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