Last Updated: June 08, 2023, 09:53 IST
Sanjeev Jeeva’s killer knew lawyers won’t be frisked in the Lucknow court premises so he dressed as one to carry a pistol and shoot the dreaded gangster inside the courtroom. Less than two months ago, killers disguised as journalists used the same modus operandi to kill Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf at a hospital gate.
In both cases so far, Uttar Pradesh Police has been unable to ascertain any clear motive of the killers who have not been found to be associated with any rival gangs. Jeeva was a dreaded shooter of jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari.
So, who is assassinating UP’s dreaded gangsters and are these contract killings whose orders came from elsewhere? The assailants in the Atiq-Ashraf case — Lavish, Mohit and Arun — claimed after being caught that they had killed the gangster duo to get “famous” but how they got pistols for the murders in April remains unclear.
In the case of Jeeva, the assailant Vijay Yadav has no serious criminal history and police so far is not aware of any kind of personal rivalry with Jeeva. But he does belong to Jaunpur which has a history of gang wars and he has spent some years in Mumbai as well. For the last one month, Yadav was not in touch with his family, the police have found. This is a similar story to some of Atiq’s killers who were also not in touch with their families.
Yadav shot Jeeva with a .357 bore Magnum Alpha pistol and emptied all the six bullets. He knew exactly which courtroom Jeeva will be produced in on Wednesday and patiently waited outside the courtroom while dressed as a lawyer till Jeeva arrived there in police security. He then entered the courtroom and shot Jeeva from the back.
The lawyers have been left enraged over the incident as the policemen in Jeeva’s security could not react in time to counter Yadav. In fact, the lawyers overpowered Yadav while he was fleeing from the courtroom and handed him over to the police. The incident has raised question marks on how the assailant could enter the court premises with a gun. Though metal detectors and security men are present in the court, most equipment does not work and the lawyers are not frisked. Police suspect that Yadav had done a recce of the court premises before hatching the plan to dress up as a lawyer.
Like the Atiq-Ashraf case, here too there is no clear motive behind the assailant’s action, increasing the suspicion that these are paid hits on contract. Jeeva was among the top 15 listed gangsters in Uttar Pradesh and had been convicted recently for the murder of BJP leader Brahmdutt Dwivedi. Jeeva faced over two dozen cases, including those of murder, abduction and extortion and had also been booked under the Gangsters Act. He was lodged in a high-security barrack in a Lucknow jail.
Another key aide and shooter of Mukhtar Ansari, Munna Bajrangi, was also killed inside the Baghpat jail in 2018.