MANGALURU: Five days after Mahammed Fazil, 23, was hacked to death in Surathkal police station limits, Mangaluru City police have inched closer to solving the case with the arrest of six persons from Udupi district early Tuesday.
The predawn arrests were made based on the information provided by Ajith Crasta, 34, owner of the car used in the murder and the first to be arrested in the case. Fazil was a resident of Mangalapete in Katipalla and worked as a part-time cleaner in an HPCL bullet tanker.
Mangaluru City police commissioner N Shashi Kumar said the arrested accused have been identified as Suhas Shetty, 29, from Bajpe; Mohan Singh alias Nepali Mohan, 26, from Kulai; Giridhar, 23; Abhishek, 21; Shrinivas, 23; and Deekshith, 21, from Surathkal.
Accused were looking for easy target: Police
The commissioner said the accused had told Crasta — who rents out two cars and a truck as part of his transport business — that they wanted a car for “an important task” and offered to pay him Rs 15,000 in rent for three days. Crasta had received Rs 1,000 in advance. The investigation team scoured interiors of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Chikkamagaluru and parts of Kerala before making the arrest.
Narrating the events leading up to the murder, Shashi Kumar said Suhas Shetty, from Bajpe, called his friend Abhishek on July 26 and spoke about a plot to eliminate “someone” the next day. On July 27, Shetty met Giridhar at ahotel in Surathkal and discussed the logistics – how to arrange a car and more men – to execute the plan.
According to police, the accused had already procured arms and were looking for “an easy target” to carry out their plan. However, the motive behind their act is yet to be established. Police said the three accused persons met Mohan, who decided to draft Abhishek, Shrinivas and Deekshith into the hit team. Mohan, along with Giridhar, hired the car. The same evening, Shetty, Giridhar and Mohan discussed a list of possible targets, which, sources claimed, had at least seven names. On July 28, according to police, Shetty, Abhishek, Shrinivas and Deekshith met near the court complex in Surathkal and identified Fazil as their target.
The accused persons conducted a recce a couple of times to pencil in details about Fazil’s movement and his daily routine. Police said that on July 28, assailants Shetty, Mohan and Abhishek alighted from the car and, in a flash, hacked Fazil to death in front of ashop in Surathkal. As the youth bled to his death, Shrinivas stood near the car, Deekshith sat inside the vehicle and Giridhar was in the driver’s seat.
Police said that the accused persons immediately drove away to Inna in Udupi, abandoned the car and hopped onto another vehicle that Shrinivas had arranged from a friend. They reached a hideout and made attempts to split up and go in different directions to duck any police search team. However, their luck ran out as a CCB team led by inspector Mahesh Prasad and Mangaluru North sub-division team led by Mahesh Kumar swooped down on them and picked up the accused from Udyavar in Udupi around 5.30am Tuesday