Former corporator Razzak Khan, son arrested in connection with RTI activist’s murder
Vakola police on Monday arrested former Congress Corporator Razzak Abbas Khan and his son Amzad Razzak Khan in connection with the murder of Right To Information (RTI) activist Bhupendra Vira.
Vira had led a campaign against land mafia and encroachments in his Kalina colony, and recently complained to the police against Khan.
On Saturday, a man barged into Vira’s home in Vakola, held a gun to his head and fired. “The assailant entered Vira’s residence around 9 pm yesterday, put a gun to his temple and fired. He died on the spot,” said a police officer.
Vira’s wife, who was in the kitchen, did not hear the shot and was told by a neighbour passing by that there was blood in the bedroom. When she checked she found her husband in a pool of blood. The 60-year-old was declared dead at V N Desai Hospital.
Vira was attached to a citizen group ‘Voice of Kalina’. He is survived by three children, a daughter and two sons.
Following his death, police were investigating whether Vira had complained about any threat to his life.
Activist and former Aam Aadmi Party leader Anjali Damania, who had worked with Vira, alleged that he was targeted by those involved in illegal land dealings.
Damania alleges that he and several other activists had been threatened and they had also filed complaints.
During investigation, police also started looking into former corporator Razzak Khan, who allegedly received an order from the Lokayukta hours before the murder that four of his properties would be demolished based on a complaint filed by the activist.
“The dispute between Khan and Vira has been going on for five to six years. It is suspected that a gala (shop) belonging to Vira had been grabbed by Khan. Vira started filing complaints against the illegal structures of Khan which led to demolition of couple of structures including Khan’s office,” said a political leader requesting anonymity told Indian Express.
BMC officials also confirmed a few structures including Khan’s office were demolished few months back by H (East) ward office.
According to an official, the BMC had issued around 40 notices to 100 illegal structures which are mostly industrial galas following Vira’s complaint.
“Khan and his sons are history sheeters. They are involved in a number of illegal businesses like land grabbing, illegal construction, running illegal hukkah bar, etc,” Mayur, elder son of the deceased, told Free Press Journal.
“The order to demolish illegal construction in Razzak Chawl and Chandu Studio (in which Khan runs hukkah bar and other illegal businesses) had also come. And all these illegal constructions were set to be demolished after Dussehra. Khan makes huge income through the illegal businesses running in Chandu studio,” he added.
Vira had registered at least 31 non-cognisable cases in Vakola police station but that didn’t stop Khan from threatening the deceased to take back the property cases lodged against him.
According to sources, Khan offered Vira over Rs 1 crore to settle the matter, but the activist refused.
Khan and his son have been booked under section 302 (murder) of Indian Penal Code.