Shooters Unaware Of Target Till Arms Delivery: Cops On Salman Khan House Firing

The alleged shooters, Sagar Pal and Vicky Gupta from Bihar, were arrested from Gujarat

Shooters Unaware Of Target Till Arms Delivery: Cops On Salman Khan House Firing

The two men arrested for allegedly opening fire outside Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's residence in Mumbai were not aware of the target until weapons and bullets were delivered to them at their rented house in Panvel, a police officer said on Wednesday, citing probe carried out so far.

The alleged shooters, Sagar Pal and Vicky Gupta from Bihar, were arrested from Gujarat within 48 hours of the April 14 firing outside Khan's home at the Galaxy Apartment in upscale Bandra. They are in judicial custody till May 27.

The Mumbai policeCrime Branch, during interrogation, found Pal and Gupta were given the task by Anmol Bishnoi, younger brother of jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi. But they had no idea they had to fire at Salman Khan's residence till the arms were delivered, said the official.

According to the official, Pal was recruited in the Lawrence Bishnoi gang by one Ankit. Pal and Ankit used to play cricket together and they eventually became friends. Pal was later added to a WhatsApp group by Ankit.

After a few days, Ankit told Pal about an assignment for which the gang needed one more person. Gupta, the second shooter, was then added to the group.

Ankit told the two men to go to Mumbai to complete the task and promised a good amount of money in return. Both shooters were handled by a person on instructions of Anmol Bishnoi, who is based abroad, the official said.

Initially, they were given Rs 30,000 and asked to go to Mumbai in October last year and search for a rented house near Panvel on Mumbai's outskirts, where Khan has a farmhouse, he said.

Pal and Gupta came to the city and stayed here for more than two months, during which they visited various places and went back to their village in Bihar when their money ran out, said the official.

In February, both were again contacted by the gang and given Rs 40,000 and asked to get a rented house for their stay. This time they came to Panvel, around 60 km from Mumbai, and took a house on rent in the Harigram area, he said.

After some days, they were asked to purchase a motorbike, for which money was deposited in their bank accounts, and some cash was also given to them, the official informed.

A few days before the delivery of weapons, they were asked to conduct a survey of the 58-year-old actor's residence in Bandra and his farmhouse in Panvel. Two pistols and 'live' rounds were delivered to them on March 15 by two men, Sonu Bishnoi and Anuj Thapan, at their rented home, and it was at this point that they were told about the target, he said.

Vicky Gupta and Pal then spoke to Anmol Bishnoi.

While speaking to him, Vicky Gupta recorded the call and made an audio clip, which was sent to his brother Sonu Gupta, the official said.

The Mumbai police have recorded Sonu Gupta's statement under Section 164 of the CrPC, he said.

The statement recorded under the section is admissible in trial, unlike the one given before police.
Both shooters were told by a gang member that they would get good money after completing the task.

Early on April 14, both went to Bandra on a motorbike and fired five rounds outside Khan's residence and fled the city, according to the official.

The men were arrested by a Crime Branch team from Gujarat, while weapons supplier Anuj Thapan and Sonu Bishnoi were nabbed from Punjab. One more gang member, Mohmmed Rafique Chowdhary (37), who provided funds to the shooters, was caught from Rajasthan.

On instructions of Anmol Bishnoi, Chowdhary met the shooters on March 8 at Mumbai suburb of Kurla. Chowdhary told them Anmol Bishnoi had given him a "bigger job" than that assigned to the duos, the official said.

Chowdhary conducted recce of Khan's residence several times. On April 12, two days before the firing, he recorded a video and clicked photos of the actor's residence and sent them to another gang member, who later forwarded them to Anmol Bishnoi, he said.

The police were checking if Chowdhary recorded videos and clicked pictures of residences of more celebrities, the official said.

In all, five persons were arrested in connection with the shooting. One of them, Anuj Thapan, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in a police lock-up in Mumbai on May 1.

Lawrence Bishnoi, currently lodged in the Sabarmati central prison in Ahmedabad, and his younger brother Anmol, who is believed to be in the US or Canada, have been named as accused in the firing case.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)