UP’s most wanted gangster, hiding in Mumbai as fruit-seller, arrested | Mumbai News

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MUMBAI/MEERUT: Dreaded gangster and Mirchi Gang kingpin Ashu Jaat, 32, who is wanted in the murders of Noida executive Gaurav Chandel and Hapur-based BJP leader Rakesh Sharma, was arrested by a joint team of Hapur police and Mumbai crime branch from Mumbai’s Jogeshwari area on Saturday.
Carrying a bounty of Rs 2.5 lakh, Ashu – who is on the top of Uttar Pradesh’s most wanted list with nearly 40 cases of murder, kidnapping, loot and theft registered against him – was selling fruits under disguise in Mumbai.
Ashu shot to infamy when his name cropped up in the sensational Chandel murder case in Noida in January. A regional manager with a healthcare firm in Gurgaon, Chandel was found murdered on the service road between Parthala and Gaur City in Noida on January 7. Later, police impounded Chandel’s stolen SUV from Ghaziabad’s Akash Nagar.
While Hapur police had earlier arrested his wife Poonam and some other gang members, Ashu feared that he may be killed in a police encounter as UP Police’s STF was on his trail. He sneaked into Mumbai, took a rented room in Vile Parle, changed his appearance by growing a beard and took to selling fruits, police said.
However, a minor mistake of calling up his associate in UP paved the way for his arrest.
“UP police had last week shared information that Ashu Jaat was staying here. With the tip-off, crime branch (unit XI) inspector Sunil Mane and sub-inspector Sharad Zine along with staff posed as vendors for three days before nabbing him,’’ said Mumbai deputy commissioner of police (crime) Akbar Pathan.
Mane said it was a Herculean task as the accused had switched off his cell phone and lived a normal life selling fruits at Irla Market. “UP police had sent us his old pictures, but he looks different now, with long hair and beard. So, it was difficult to identify him. Our team posed as BMC officials and got close to him. When we made sure he was the same accused, we took precautions and picked him up,” added Mane.
Confirming the arrest, Hapur superintendent of police (SP) Sanjiv Suman said, “Responding to an alert, a Hapur police team had visited Mumbai searching for him ten days ago. They arrested him on Saturday morning.”
According to senior police officials, Ashu would be brought to Hapur on transit remand on Sunday.
Ashu along with his brother Bholu, police said, led a gang of more than 25 members, wanted by Noida, Ghaziabad and Hapur police for cases of snatching, robberies and contract killings. Sources said the gang got its name ‘Mirchi’ for their modus operandi of throwing chilli flakes into the eyes of commuters and robbing them. Police said his wife Poonam used to help the gang get arms while Ashu never carried a mobile phone while committing any crime.
According to UP STF, Ashu had a narrow escape in October last when four members of his gang were arrested after an encounter with Hapur police, while he and one of his aides Rahul had escaped.



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