Two arrested for Mumbai contract killing

June 19th, 2008 - 12:31 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, June 18 (IANS) Two people were arrested for allegedly contracting the murder of Suresh Bhagat, described as Mumbai’s gambling king, last week, police said Wednesday. Harish Mandivkar, described as a notorious criminal, and his associate Suhas Mahadev Roghe were arrested from the sea resort town of Daman, south of Gujarat, Joint Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria said Wednesday evening.

Bhagat, king of matka, or illicit gambling, and five others were killed on the busy Alibaug-Pen road at Poinad, about 100 km from here, when a truck collided with their Scorpio SUV.

Bhagat and others had gone to the Alibaug sessions court for a case hearing and were returning to Mumbai when the accident took place.

On Saturday, the Raigad police arrested truck driver Pravin Shetty and vehicle owner Azimuddin Shaikh in connection with the killing.

The latest arrests came in the wake of interrogation of Shetty and Shaikh, according to Maria.

Shetty was allegedly paid Rs.300,000 by Mandivkar while Roghe paid Mandivkar Rs.4.5 million to carry out the killing, Maria said.

It is estimated that bets worth around Rs.350 million per day are played in matka on the probable lucky number. The operators are believed to garner a daily net profit of nearly Rs.3 million from the business, sources told IANS.

The investigations also point to the alleged involvement of Jaya, former wife of Bhagat, and his son, and the connivance of some operatives of the Arun Gawli gang.

Crime branch investigations reveal that Bhagat’s killing could be linked to an intense struggle in the underworld over the control of the lucrative gambling operations in Mumbai and other centres.

Following Bhagat’s elimination from the scene, the mantle is expected to pass on to leading matka operative Pappu Savli, living in northwest Mumbai’s Borivli.

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