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‘contract killing’ of Dahod BJP leader: Convict in 2002 train burning case among those arrested

The police also gathered technical data to trace Irfan Pada. Top police officers added that they had been under pressure to crack the case as the deceased was a former vice president of the Jhalod municipality and a local leader of stature for the BJP.

Two weeks after BJP councillor from Jhalod municipality in Dahod district, Hiren Patel, was killed in an alleged road accident while on his morning walk, Dahod Police on Wednesday arrested four persons in this connection for executing his “contract killing”.

The four accused have been identified as Sajjansinh Chauhan and Mohammed Samir Mujawar, both residents of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Ajay Himmat Kalal from Jhalod and Irfan Pada from Godhra — a convict in the 2002 Sabarmati train carnage. Pada had been on the run since he jumped parole in 2019. The police are currently probing who commissioned the contract killing by approaching Kalal.

According to Dahod Police, who had begun the probe on September 27, it was Kalal who had contacted the other three accomplices to execute the contract awarded to him. Dahod Superintendent of Police, Hitesh Joysar, said that Kalal, Pada and Chauhan had met in prison and stayed in touch after Pada jumped parole. Chauhan has also been involved in a number of offences including murder and armed robbery.

Knowing that Patel was a regular morning walker, the accused had hatched a plot to kill Patel in a manner that would appear like an accident, police said. On the morning of September 27, when Patel had stepped out around 6 am, the accused ran a Light Motor Vehicle (LCV) into him at a secluded spot at Muwada junction in Jhalod, ensuring that the impact was strong enough to fatally injure Patel. The accused had previously done a recce of the route that Patel usually took.

Joysar said, “Our teams had spotted two vehicles speeding past the site, immediately after Patel was seen walking by. The camera could not capture the actual accident, but we traced the two vehicles with help of connecting CCTVs after we realised that one of the two vehicles had been suspiciously moving at the site and crossed by three times just before the incident.”

The police also gathered technical data to trace Pada. Top police officers added that they had been under pressure to crack the case as the deceased was a former vice president of the Jhalod municipality and a local leader of stature for the BJP.

Police probe further revealed that Pada was in the LCV that crashed into Patel, after which he had shifted into another SUV and was dropped off at Dahod railway station, where he had parked his own vehicle to return to Godhra. Joysar said that the police formally arrested the four accused after they tested negative for Covid-19 as per the mandatory protocol.

“We will produce the accused in court and seek their remand. Since Pada is a convict and on the run after jumping parole from Godhra Jail, the court will suitably decide the next step in his case after we finish our questioning,” Joysar said. Police are working on identifying the accused who commissioned the contract killing by paying Kalal for the same, he added.

“We are questioning the accused to ascertain if the killing was a political rivalry or a personal enmity. The probe is on to reach a conclusion and also get to the person who commissioned the contract killing,” Joysar said.

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