Amid the eerie calm, Ali’s trusted lieutenants play sentries, noting every passerby, observing, shadowing, and talking to every new face. Other aides have already begun their own efforts to find Saleem and Hafi, who Ali’s family says, were contracted by Ali to murder the Corporator.
“Bhaijaan idhar khade the (they said pointing outside the saloon he was first attacked at in Yarabnagar) aur Saleem ne ek goli mari jo unki daahine kandhe pe laga. Hamara dost Umar ne phir Ali saab ko doosri or le ja raha tha (ten metres in the oppossite direction) jab Saleem ne uske sar par mar ke gira di. Uske baad Hafi ne Bhai ke sine pe goli mari aur phir talwaar se gale par hamla kiya,” Nayaz, Ali’s brother said.
(Brother was standing here, and Saleem fired a shot which hit his right shoulder. Our friend Umar then was trying to take Ali away, when Saleem hit him on his head and felled him. Hafi then fired a bullet into Brother’s chest and attacked him with a sword).
Although the area is under tight police vigil, Ali’s trusted men continue to man key areas in anticipation and in some fear. Police have not provided protection to Ali’s family.
Amid all the speculation about the whereabouts of the killers, comes a whisper from a street corner that two men had been detained and that one of them had information about people involved in the killing.
On why the gang killed Ali and what Mahim, who the family suspects to be the man behind, had to gain, Nayaz said: “My brother had refused to side with Mahim in settling one of the cases about two years ago and he was trying to kill him ever since.”
Elaborating, he said Mahim’s associates Asghar, Nayaz and Sameer were in Bellary jail for killing Khalib whom Ali supported. Ali had rebuffed an attempt by Mahim for a compromise, and the latter had been planning to kill Ali since, then Nayaz claimed.
Nayaz further alleged the involvement of Tanker Zameer, a Yarabnagar resident in the killing. Inquiries found that Zameer was missing for the last 10 days.