Police have arrested Siddhesh Hiraman Kamble alias Mahakal in connection with the killing of popular singer and Congress leader Moose Wala in Punjab last month while another suspect and his close associate Santosh Jadhav, also from Pune in Maharashtra, has been identified as a shooter in the crime, officials said on Wednesday.
Kamble, against whom stringent MCOCA was invoked, was wanted by the Pune (rural) police for allegedly sheltering Jadhav, against whom a murder case was registered at Manchar police station in the Pune district in 2021.
Maharashtra ADG (Law and Order) Kulwant Kumar Sarangal said in Mumbai that the arrested accused, Mahakal alias Siddhesh alias Saurabh Kamble, is part of the Lawrence Bishnoi gang.
Kamble and Jadhav were involved in the crime and were very much aware of the Moose Wala murder conspiracy.
"As per the information, Santosh Jadhav was shooter in the murder of Sidhu Moose Wala. Police are looking for him," he told PTI.
"Mahakal and Santosh Jadhav were involved in the murder of Moose Wala. They were very much aware of the conspiracy. During the investigation it came to light that Mahakal is part of Lawrence Bishnoi gang," Sarangal said.
He said it was Jadhav who had introduced Kamble to the Bishnoi gang.
Maharashtra Police are investigating the exact role of Kamble in Moose Wala's murder, but he was very much aware of the conspiracy, he said.
"Kamble is a close associate of Jadhav," the ADG said, adding that police are also verifying whether the accused persons had been in jail with Lawrence Bishnoi in any old case.
He said the police are also investigating whether the letter threatening writer Salim Khan and his actor son Salman Khan was kept on a bench at the Bandra bandstand in Mumbai recently by members of the (Bishnoi) gang.
Sarangal said police have secured a 12-day remand of Kamble in connection with a murder case registered against Santosh Jadhav at Manchar police station in the Pune district.
Pune Police said that Kamble was arrested on Tuesday from the Pune-Ahmednagar border.
"We have arrested Kamble against whom stringent MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) was invoked for allegedly harbouring Jadhav in the 2021 murder case of one Omkar Bankhele. A case to that effect was registered with Manchar police station in Pune district," said Abhinav Deshmukh, Superintendent of Police, (Pune rural).
Deshmukh said Kamble was also involved in a case registered in Rajasthan, and the Pune rural police will inform their counterparts in Rajasthan and Punjab.
Speaking about his role in the Bankhele murder case, he said Kamble is not directly linked to this case in which Jadhav is the accused.
"But he had sheltered Jadhav after the latter committed the crime. There is a provision in the MCOCA that those who help or harbour the accused against whom MCOCA has been invoked, also become accused under MCOCA," the police officer added.
Kamble was on Wednesday produced before a court in connection with the Manchar police station case which remanded him to police custody till June 20. PTI DC SPK DC NSK NSK