New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) A conspiracy was hatched by a leading coal contractor to eliminate Steel Authority of India (SAIL) Chairman Anil Kumar Chaudhary in the garb of a “road rage” attack here last month, the ongoing investigation of Delhi Police’s Crime Branch revealed.
Six persons — big-time coal contractor A.K. Singh, property dealer Sunil Barala and four professional criminals — have been arrested for attempting to murder the SAIL chief in the posh South Extension area here as he was returning home from office on August 7.
Unravelling the deep-rooted conspiracy, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Crime Branch, Ram Gopal Naik told IANS that the coal contractor had hired professional criminals to “fix” the SAIL Chairman for rejecting a supply order of coal worth over Rs 100 crore.
“Singh has a company in Dubai, which bagged a contract of coal supply to SAIL’s plants. However, when the coal was off-loaded at Vishakhapatnam and Haldia sites, the consignment was found to be of an inferior quality. SAIL then rejected the order,” Naik said.
Singh tried to pressurise the SAIL Chairman to reconsider his decision of rejecting the consignment, shipped from the United States, but when Chaudhary refused, a plot was hatched to teach him a lesson, the DCP added.
To execute his plan, Singh contacted his acquaintance Barala, who in a few days arranged four men for Rs 6 lakh.
Sources in the police said that during interrogation, Singh admitted that he hired assailants but did not accept that he intended to eliminate Chaudhary. On the other hand, the SAIL chief stated that the attack was aimed to kill him.
Sources said that Chaudhary, who used to work till late in the evening at the SAIL office in the posh HUDCO Place near South Extension, had no security cover and was driven home to Defence Colony — across the Ring Road — in his official car.
As per the plot, a ‘road rage’ attack was planned by the assailants who were provided a car by Singh and were carrying iron rods, sharp weapons and small knives with them.
On the night of August 7, the assailants followed the SAIL Chairman’s car as he left his office at around 10.50 p.m., grazed his car in a bid to stop him and then attacked him.
Recalling the attack, Chaudhary said that he was on the rear seat of the company’s official car and they had reached the Ansal tower on August Kranti Marg when the assailants, in another car, intentionally grazed his car twice.
“When my driver stepped down from the car to check the damage, the attackers also stepped down and one of them caught the driver by the neck. When I intervened, the three others overpowered me. They brutally kicked and punched me and one of the attackers pulled out an iron rod and sharp-edged weapons from their car with the intention to kill me,” Chaudhary said.
Reiterating that the assailants had a “definite intention to kill him,” Chaudhary said that he was hit on his leg with a sharp-edged weapon as well as the iron rod, leading to both cuts and blunt wounds.
“We were fortunate that a police patrol team on motorbike was on the route and they intervened at the right time to save our lives,” Chaudhary said.
Meanwhile, a senior official at the Crime Branch said that two assailants, who were picked up by the patrol, cracked during their interrogation and disclosed the name of Barala.
Once the property dealer was picked up and questioned, Singh was identified as the mastermind. After gathering sufficient evidence, the police arrested Singh, who lived in Vasant Kunj and had an office in Central Delhi. The police unravelled the entire plot to attack the SAIL Chairman after questioning him.