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Sathish Damania | HENB | Mumbai | Oct 17, 2016:: Two Muslim men arrested in the Hindu RTI activist Bhupendra Vira murder case were remanded in police custody till October 24 by a magistrate in Mumbai today.
The Mumbai police had arrested former Mumbai corporator Razzak Khan (78) and his son Amjad Khan (53) for their alleged involvement in the murder of the RTI activist. A 61-year-old Right to Information activist was killed in Mumbai on Saturday evening by a man who barged into his home, held a gun to his head and fired.
Demanding their police custody, public prosecutor Ashok Medhe told the court, “The complainant (Vira’s son-in-law) in this case has alleged that they were getting repeated threats from the family of the accused. They also have a property dispute. In the past, family members of the accused had attacked Vira’s son. Police custody is required for a detailed investigation.”
Bhupendra Vira was watching TV at his home in Santa Cruz when the killer entered around 9 pm on Saturday (15th Oct, 2016) and shot him in the head, say the police. Mr Vira’s wife Khushboo says she didn’t hear anything. “I make tiffin…I finished my work at 8.45 pm and was in the washroom. The TV was on so I heard nothing,” she said.
According to officials of the Vakola police station, it was one of the neighbours who first spotted Vira’s body lying in a pool of blood at his residence in Razzak Chawl behind the Kalina mosque. He rushed inside to inform his wife.
Vira’s wife was cooking in the kitchen while he was sitting in another room watching television. Surprisingly, the gunshot was neither heard by his wife nor by the neighbours, leading the police to suspect that the killer used a firearm equipped with a silencer.
The chawl lacks CCTV camera surveillance and police are now searching for witnesses who might have seen a suspicious person in the area around the time.
Mr Vira had led a campaign against land grabbing by Jihadi land mafias and illegal constructions in his colony.
Activist and former Aam Aadmi Party leader Anjali Damania, who had worked closely with Mr Vira, alleged that he was murdered because of his relentless fight against illegal land dealings.
The police are investigating whether Mr Vira had complained about any threat to his life. Ms Damania alleges that he and several other activists had been threatened and they had also told the police.
Recently, Ms Damania said, Mr Vira had persuaded civic officials to take action against four illegal construction sites.
Mr Vira was attached to the ‘Voice of Kalina’, a citizen’s group and Aam Aadmi Party, Maharashtra Unit. He has three children, a daughter and two sons. One of the sons was allegedly stabbed four years ago.