Kathmandu: A former scalper from New Delhi’s Tilak Nagar who became Indian underworld don Chhota Rajan’s aide, has admitted responsibility for the audacious killing of Nepal’s controversial media tycoon Jamim Shah, shot dead in the capital’s VIP area Sunday, a report said.
Avenues Television, a private television station, Monday said it received a call from a man who identified himself as Bharat Nepali and said he had masterminded the death of Shah, who is alleged to have had links with another underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, and Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Nepali was reported last year to have split from the Chhota Rajan gang to start his own. He faces several murder charges and has been absconding in India.
Nepal’s coalition government said it was unaware of the claim.
With Home Minister Bhim Rawal away on an official visit to China, Minister of State Rizvan Ansari admitted before the media Monday that there had been a security lapse.
However, the minister also said that police were closing in on the two killers.
Shah, whose forefathers came from Kashmir, owned Space Time Network, a private media group that operates Nepal’s first cable television, Channel Nepal.
He also ran two dailies which closed down after stiff competition and an attack during the only sectarian riots suffered by Nepal in 2004 when 12 Nepali workers were killed in Iraq.
Shah was returning home from a health club at a five-star hotel when slow traffic forced his Pajero to come to a stop near the French Embassy in Kathmandu’s VIP area that houses four embassies.
A motorcycle drew up to the car and the pillion rider walked over and fired through the open window.
Shot in the chest and neck, Shah died while being taken to hospital; his driver Mathura Man Malakar received leg injuries.
The assailants’ bike had a fake number plate.
Ansari said the hit job was the work of an organised gang.
Nepal’s media world has condemned the incident and warned they would start a protest movement if the murderers were not arrested soon.
Even before the call to the television station came, there was conjecture that Chhota Rajan had a hand in Shah’s killing.
In 1998, a powerful Nepali MP who was also alleged to have links with Dawood and the ISI, was shot dead in a similar way in Kathmandu.
Mirza Dilshad Beg’s murder is believed to have been the handiwork of the Chhota Rajan who fell out with Dawood.