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Six-member gang of inter-State supari killers held

Belagavi: The police arrested a six-member inter-State gang of supari killers (contract killers) — reported to be sharp-shooters — engaged to kill a criminal lodged at the Hindalaga Central Prison here, on Wednesday.

Five pistols, 29 live rounds, 18 mobile phones and over 20 SIM cards, monkey caps, and a car with a fake registration number were seized from the arrested.

The accused were identified as Veer Madan Reddy of Bengaluru, Avinash Jagannath Marke of Thane in Maharashtra, Md. Haneef Abubaker of Puttur in Dakshina Kannada, Ahmed Syed Abdul Rahman of Ghatkopar in Mumbai, Abdul Karim of Belabdur in Dakshina Kannada, and Tahir Hussain alias Anup Gowda of Yelahanka in Bengaluru. Another accused, identified as Gulfam, is absconding. The arrested were produced before the JMFC IV court on Thursday which remanded them in police custody for six days. The police also conducted medical examination of all the six arrested. According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (L&O) G. Radhika and DCP (Crime) Amarnath Reddy, the accused had planned to free Dinesh Shetty, convicted of murdering advocate Naushad, from Hindalaga Central Prison.

Shetty was to be taken to the Civil Hospital for a check-up on Thursday.

The police could not immediately confirm as to who had hired the accused. They, however, ruled out that the shooters were in Belagavi to kill a high-profile politician.

The police said that they acted on a tip-off about the gang and monitored their movement since Tuesday. Two teams were formed to nab them.

One of the teams arrested three of the gang members from a room in lodge opposite the Market Police Station, near Central Bus Terminus. Another team arrested two persons near the Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences, and one more was nabbed at Belagavi airport when he was to board a Bengaluru-bound flight.

Meanwhile, security has been provided to all the VIPs in the city, including legislators, MPs, Deputy Commissioner, ZP Chief Executive Officer, and Judges at their residences, as a precautionary measure, sources said.

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