Acting on a tip off that some armed men from the Pujari group were going to meet near R-Mall in Mulund, a trap was laid on Monday evening. Cops found some men moving suspiciously in the area and apprehended them. On being frisked, fire arms were recovered and they were taken into custody. It came to light after further questioning that the target was Dombivali based Sena corporator Ramesh Mhatre.
The accused arrested have been identified as Sanjeev Vashishta, 32, Manishkumar Pande, 27, both from Delhi while two others Rajesh Yadav, 40 and Mahendra Dive, 29, both residents of Dombivali. Vashista and Yadav were also allegedly involved in the murder of Dombivali based businessman Jaywant Mhatre in 2005.
“On searching the accused, two 7.65 bore pistols were recovered along with 15 rounds of bullets, which were procured from an arms dealer in Meerut. A rival of Mhatre is suspected to have given the contract to Pujari” said DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni.
During the initial questioning it was revealed that the four accused had received Rs 1.90 lakh as initial token and were promised Rs 10 lakh after execution. The total amount for murdering Mhatre was reportedly Rs 3crore.
In September 2006, Mhatre was shot at by some shooters allegedly hired by his rival Vikas Mhatre, who was later arrested by the AEC of Thane police along with two others. A cable operator from Dombivali was allegedly on the target of the accused as well.
Cops said that the arrest has averted an attack. The accused have been remanded in police custody till February 2 and would be interrogated further to know about the person who gave the contract to Pujari.