New Delhi: Amit Jani, leader of the UP Navnirman Sena, has claimed that the country-made pistol found on a Delhi Transport Corporation bus at the JNU campus on Thursday, April 14 was meant to be used to kill All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader and member of parliament Asaduddin Owaisi. The pistol had been found with a letter threatening to kill JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid. Jani has been absconding since Thursday.
In a statement sent on Whatsapp on Monday, Jani said he had purchased this pistol in September 2015 and had planned to attack Owaisi during his visit to Muzaffarnagar to campaign for the AIMIM candidate for the assembly by-election there. The plan was to attack Owaisi at the Daurala toll plaza, Jani has said. But his plan fell through as the AIMIM had withdrawn its candidate from the bypolls.
Jani, who had earlier been booked for vandalising Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati’s statues in Uttar Pradesh and who had also attacked the offices of the Shiv Sena in several parts of the state following attacks on non-Maharashtrians in Mumbai, had in March threatened to attack Kumar and Khalid for allegedly calling the army “rapists”.
Although Jani had claimed he would attack Kumar before April 10 if the latter would not apologise for his remarks by March 31, when the deadline passed it seemed that he had had a change of heart. However, over the past week, Jani has made several controversial statements to garner publicity.
Ever since the Delhi Police recovered the weapon and cartridges, Jani has been updating the media on the progress in the case and the investigations. Besides, he has also been regularly issuing statements declaring his intent.
On Monday, he claimed that with the help of his “boys” he had been keeping a watch on Owaisi’s residence. But then when the JNU episode happened, he wanted to “instil fear” in the heart and mind of those he felt had raised anti-national slogans.
Jani claims that he had been told by a JNU student, who was apparently close to Kumar and Khalid, that although it would nearly impossible to take weapons onto the campus, given the increased security, these could be smuggled in through the Route No. 615 DTC bus, which originated at Minto Road and went right inside the campus, terminating near Purvanchal Hostel.
However, Jani claims, the student friend mislead him and informed the Delhi Police about the plan.
Subsequently, the pistol, some cartridges and a letter, purportedly written by Jani, were recovered by the police from a bag in the bus. On Sunday, April 17, Jani’s brother, Saurabh Agarwal, and his associate, Sulabh Bharadwaj, were arrested for writing the letter, and leaving the weapon and cartridges in the bus.
The police claimed that Agarwal had allegedly plotted to kill Kumar and Khalid while he was at a hotel in Paharganj. Prior to their arrest, Jani had claimed they had been picked up by the police to mount pressure on him despite them trying to assist in the investigation. Jani had also said his offices in Delhi had been raided by the police.
The Delhi police are still searching for Jani, who remains the prime suspect in the case that has been registered at Tilak Marg police station. It is also learnt that the Central Bureau of Investigation has been making enquiries into the case, considering its serious ramifications.