The Mangaluru police on Tuesday arrested six persons in connection with the murder of Mohammed Fazil (23) who was hacked to death in Surathkal on the night of July 28. Preliminary interrogation has revealed that Fazil was the 'target' for the retaliatory attack for killing BJP youth wing leader Praveen Nettaru in Bellare on July 26.
The accused were arrested from the outskirts of Udyavara by the Mangaluru police and the CCB team. Mangaluru police Commissioner N.Shashikumar, who addressed a press conference soon after the arrest said, “A total of seven persons have been arrested in the case including the owner of the Eon car used for the crime. A rowdy-sheeter Suhas Shetty (29) from Bajpe, who has four criminal cases against him including a murder case along with Mohan alias Nepali Mohan (26), Abhishek (23), Giridhar (23), Srinivas and Deekshit (21), who too have criminal cases against them, were arrested. While one Ajit Crasta, owner of the Eon car which he rented out to the accused for a hefty sum of Rs 15,000 for three days has also been detained.”
According to Shashikumar, it was a conspiracy hatched on July 26 night to avenge the death of Praveen Nettaru. “The murder was planned and executed by the six-member gang, which zeroed in on Fazil as the target. It was not a case of mistaken identity as being speculated nor is it linked to any love affair of the deceased. It is a clear case of pre-meditated murder where the car, weapon and target were consciously picked and the crime was executed,” said Shashikumar.
According to the police, Suhas and Abhishek and Giridhar decided to avenge the murder of Praveen. Mohan joined them and offered to provide the car and two more accomplices (Srinivas and Deekshit). The gang picked Fazil out of the 5-6 probable targets. Suhas Shetty who stayed at a friend's place in Kavoor on July 27 night, visited the Kareenjeshwara temple on July 28 morning along with the murder weapons. Suhas picked up the other accused, who were at a court hearing.
The six accused wore monkey caps to hide their faces and Giridhar drove the car to Surathkal for a recce. After sunset, Suhas, Mohan and Abhishek got off the car and attacked Fazil, who was near his friend’s mobile shop. After committing the crime, they drove towards Palimar and abandoned the car at Inna village in Karkala and fled in another car. The accused will be produced in court to seek 14-day custody.
“Only further interrogation will reveal why Fazil was picked as the target and the affiliation of both the victim and the accused,” said Shashikumar, who also warned people against posting provocative posts on social media.
The eight-member Social Media Monitoring Cell set up after the serial murders have so far filed 17 cases against individuals who had posted provocative posts and comments and unverified information. The commissioner appealed to the people to exercise restraint while posting on social media to avoid legal cases.