Suja shoot-out: Five hired hitmen nabbed for revenge attack
Hired hit-men were behind the attempt to murder Kodagu unit BJP president Suja Kushalappa, in a revenge attack for the death of a Congress leader under mysterious circumstances last year, according to Kodagu police who have arrested five persons in this connection.
The assailants had shot at Mandepanda Suja Kushalappa, brother of Madikeri MLA Appachu Ranjan in Virajpet town on January 9. Suja who suffered bullet injuries on his neck was treated at a Mysore hospital from where he was discharged a few days ago.
Addressing a news conference at Madikeri on Wednesday, Kodagu superintendent of police M.N. Anucheth, identified the arrested persons as M.B. Harris (23) from Virajpet, M.A. Rashiq (28) from Bettageri near Madikeri, H.U. Asheeq (31) in Sunticoppa, V. Faizal (31) from Calicut in Kerala and V.M. Suleiman (48) from Ernakulam in Kerala. They were nabbed from different places in Mysore and Periyapatna.
The assailants told the police that they wanted to kill Suja because they suspected his hand in the death of Abdul Latif, a Kodagu zilla panchayat member from the Congress, who was killed by unknown persons last year when he had gone to hunt in the forest. Harris, one of the accused, is the brother of Latif.
The SP said the deal to eliminate Suja was fixed for a sum of Rs. 15 lakh, of which Rs. 5 lakh was paid as advance. The car-borne assailants pumped bullets from a pistol, but sped away in panic after Suja’s associates returned the fire. They later abandoned the car.
All five were remanded in judicial custody but the police have sought the custody of Harris for a day for further interrogation.
Suja, his son Shashank Bheemaiah, advocate C.N. Machaiah and a member of the Virajpet town panchayat, Jeevan, were coming out of the sub-registrar’s office in Virajpet after signing a land registration around 4 p.m. on January 9, when Suja was fired at. A police team led by Satish Kumar nabbed the accused.
The police have also recovered a country-made pistol, two bullets, four empty bullets, three machetes, a mobile phone and a map, apart from the car used for the crime. He announced a cash reward for the team which solved the case.
The BJP had called a bandh on January 10 to protest against the attack on Suja, who is also a leading liquour businessman. The bandh which was marred by violence, had caused a lot of hardship to people who had converged on Madikeri to attend a Kannada convention.