Mumbai cops gun down Datta Samant’s killer


Mumbai : A Mumbai Police team Tuesday gunned down notorious gangster Vijaykumar Chaudhary, accused of the 1997 murder of textile trade union leader Datta Samant in Kolhapur town.

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According to Anti-Extortion Cell chief Vijay Salaskar, the police team received a tip off recently that Chaudhary, alias Pethe, would be reaching Hotel Amrapali, near the Mumbai-Kolhapur highway, to collect extortion money from a local businessman.

On Tuesday, police from Mumbai went to Kolhapur, about 350 km from here, and managed to shoot him dead around 3.30 p.m.

Salaskar, a Mumbai Police sharpshooter who led the operation, told IANS over the phone from Kolhapur that Chaudhary — a henchman of absconding underworld don Chhota Rajan — was wanted for at least seven murders and two kidnappings by police in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttarakhand.

Chaudhary was a resident of Saki Naka, a suburb about five km from the Mumbai airport. He shot into notoriety after killing Samant, a medico-turned-trade union leader, on Jan 16, 1997.

Samant had spearheaded the yearlong textile mills strike of nearly 300,000 workers in 1981, which finally saw the collapse of the city’s trademark industry.

Apart from Samant, Chaudhary was on the list of ‘most wanted’ criminals for the killings of Asmat Patel, a builder from Thane, adjacent to Mumbai, and two city businessmen Feroze Qureshi and Vikas Chavan.

He managed to evade Mumbai Police, but was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police in April 2003 and sent here. He was lodged in the high-security sub-prison at Silvassa, a union territory near south Gujarat from where he escaped in September 2006.