Pak's ISI was also suspect in murder of Tejas ex-pilot

Pak's ISI was also suspect in murder of Tejas ex-pilot
Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI, was suspected to be involved in the sensational murder of Air Commodore (retired) Parvez Hamilton Khokhar in Bengaluru on November 24, 2014.

Born in Batala in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, he had taken part in the Indo-Pak war in 1971. Since he knew details of the bridges and ammunition storehouses in Pakistan, he was given the additional responsibility of being the test pilot during the war, though he was the Tejas project director.

Given his background, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) hunted for his killers on the Indo-Pak border, but could not make any headway.

Police initially suspected a son of one of Khokhar’s friends, who had visited him in Bengaluru just three days before the murder. The friend’s son had gifted him a camera as he was a wildlife photographer.

Police said that following the murder, Khokhar’s wife Prameela sold the villa and left Bengaluru to live with their children in Delhi. Police have now summoned her to the city for recording her statement.

The arrest

Based on credible information, police were hot on the trail of an 11-member gang that was planning to commit dacoity near Suryanagar in Hebbagodi, south Bengaluru. The gang was arrested on February 9, 2017.

Another suspect, N Satyanarayana (28), was arrested later on the basis of information given by the other men. When police grilled them, they revealed how they had burgled farmhouses, bungalows and apartments on the outskirts of the city. Police learnt that Khokhar’s murder was essentially a robbery gone awry.

The kingpin

The suspected mastermind, R Srinivas, had worked in the club of the gated community for more than six years before finding a job as a cab driver. He knew the security system and where the CCTV cameras were located. Police said he had masterminded the burglarly into Khokhar’s house. But he told the police that they never intended to kill him.

On 20 July 2016, the gang struck at the house of one Zubair Ahmed at Lakshminarayanapura, around 600 metres from Smilee Greens Estate Club, the gated community where Khokhar lived. They stole Rs 1.05 crore worth of valuables, including diamond, gold and silver ornaments, a revolver, 21 rounds of live bullets, a Rolex watch and important documents.

Ahmed, who was running a private construction company, had landed a construction deal and outsourced the foundation-laying work to another company. On July 10, 2016, while the labourers were working at the building site, the mud wall collapsed and three of them were buried alive.

Police booked Ahmed. Fearing arrest, he and his family absconded. One of the gang members read the news and knew where was Ahmed’s house. The men ganged up and decided to burgle the house as they were certain there would be nobody in the house and that Ahmed was rich.
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