another independent media owner murdered

Recall the Hadjicostis murder: an independent media owner shot by men on a motorcycle, during daylight, near embassies.

Another murder this weekend, strikingly similar to the Hadjicostis murder, but this time in Kathmandu:
Chairman of Space Time Network and Channel Nepal, Jamim Shah was shot dead by an unknown gang at Lajimpat Sunday’s afternoon. The unidentified person riding a motorcycle shot Chairman Shah near French Embassy, Lajimpat at 2:55 pm. He was immediately taken to TU Teaching Hospital, but in vain. Shot on chest and head, he breathed his last on the way to the Hospital. Chauffeur Mathura Man Malakar was also injured seriously in the firing.

...Meanwhile, the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) has expressed deep grief over the killing of Jamim Shah, the Chairman of Channel Nepal, the first television channel of Nepal, and Space Time Network.

The killing of a prestigious person in broad daylight in the sensitive and important place of the capital city proves that .........

the security situation in the country was very lax, the FNJ said, making strong demand to the government to immediately initiate the investigation into the crime and bring the culprits to book.

Maybe. Maybe it proves something else. Sometimes security seems to be lax on purpose.

A gangster claims responsibility.

Avenues Television, a private television station, Monday said it received a call from a man who identified himself as Bharat Nepali and said he had masterminded the death of Shah, who is alleged to have had links with another underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, and Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Nepali was reported last year to have split from the Chhota Rajan gang to start his own. He faces several murder charges and has been absconding in India. Nepal's coalition government said it was unaware of the claim.

...Shah was returning home from a health club at a five-star hotel when slow traffic forced his Pajero to come to a stop near the French Embassy in Kathmandu's VIP area that houses four embassies. A motorcycle drew up to the car and the pillion rider walked over and fired through the open window.

Shot in the chest and neck, Shah died while being taken to hospital; his driver Mathura Man Malakar received leg injuries.

The assailants' bike had a fake number plate.  Ansari said the hit job was the work of an organised gang. Nepal's media world has condemned the incident and warned they would start a protest movement if the murderers were not arrested soon.
Even before the call to the television station came, there was conjecture that Chhota Rajan had a hand in Shah's killing.

In 1998, a powerful Nepali MP who was also alleged to have links with Dawood and the ISI, was shot dead in a similar way in Kathmandu. Mirza Dilshad Beg's murder is believed to have been the handiwork of the Chhota Rajan who fell out with Dawood.  
A faction in India accused Shah of being anti-Indian and linked him to Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan, but this has not been proven.

A section of Indian media that is better known for jumping the gun in matters related to regional security and politics have alleged that Shah’s media outlets were routinely used for anti-India propaganda....

“Shah ran the Channel Nepal television station that in 2000 instigated anti-India riots when it falsely reported Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan as saying that he hated Nepalis,” claims a report by carried by Times of India. “Four people died in the violence that followed and scores of Indian shops and businesses came under attack. Though the channel was banned for some time, it was lifted once the furore receded.”

Here’s what India’s government-controlled news agency Press Trust of India wrote about Shah: “The Nepali media mogul is alleged to have links with the underworld, including Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan, allegations he had consistently denied. It was also alleged that his TV channel had received investments from underworld sources.”

It was widely reported at that time that a local Nepali-language weekly from Chitwan had originally carried such report about Roshan and afterwards major media from Kathmandu quoted the same report. Shah may be guilty for his alleged anti-India activities on Nepali soil but that was never verified. Neither we heard of any reports of India sharing its intelligence about Shah’s anti-India activities with Nepali authorities. There are many media outlets in Nepal (particularly newspapers) that are believed to be run (or help run) by the Indian embassy in Kathmandu because they run not only hagiographic reports about everything-India but also negative reports about Pakistan. About Shah too, there were rumors in Kahtmandu about his anti-India things but again they were never challenged in related authorities.
Additional details of the murder:
KATHMANDU, Feb 7: Media entrepreneur Jamim Shah, 47, was shot dead by two motorbike-borne masked men in Lazimpat, a high priority security zone of the capital, on Sunday afternoon. He received three bullets -- one in the head and two in chest -- fired from a point blank range.

...Shah was apparently being followed after he left Yak & Yeti Hotel-- where he took sauna bath. He was attacked by gunmen near the French embassy, while heading home to Panipokhari on his car (Na 1 Cha 2151).

The place where the incident took place is quite close to the Indian and British Embassies and is only about a kilometer away from the president´s office, Sheetal Niwas, where security personnel had been deployed in large numbers owing to the movement of Vice-president Paramananda Jha´s for oath retake.

...The pillion rider on the Yamaha Escort bike, with fake number plate (Ba 15 Pa 8733) as claimed by the police, caught up with his Pajero and first fired through the left hand side window and then, having overtaken, straight through the windscreen. Police has recovered a 9 mm bullet from the scene. The attackers could have used a silencer pistol as witnesses did not apparently hear sound of gunfire, said the police.

The media baron, who also ran two vernacular dailies for four years since 2001, had also courted controversy for his alleged links with Dawood Ibrahim and ISI, which he always denied stoutly.

The second son of Dr Mohim Shah, a retired senior government officer, is survived by wife Anjali and son Jacky, 24. According to family sources, Anjali had flown to East Timor for a personal visit with two other relatives a few days ago. Jacky, a young musician has been living in US.

Security officers tally the modus operandi of Shah´s murder with that of Mirza Dilshad Beg 12 years ago, who courted controversy for similar allegations.

Police arrested eight persons on suspicion of involvement in the incident till Sunday evening but an investigative official at Metropolitan Police Range Kathmandu (MPRK) said on condition of anonymity that real culprits could be hiding in ´star hotels´. According to SP Ganesh KC, chief of MPRK, the shooters had a black complexion and wore black jackets.

While there are widespread suspicions about “international links” behind the homicide, a high level intelligence source said that the killing might be an act of revenge by a local party with whom Jamim had a long animosity. The source even warned another partner of the dispute could meet the same fate.
In 2004, the Times of India reported on Shah's alleged links to Dawood Ibrahim.

The Indian government has officially asked Nepal to investigate the emerging media mogul's links to Dawood Ibrahim, specifically to assert that the D-Company has heavily invested in Shah's media empire in the Himalayan kingdom....According to the Indian government, Dawood Ibraham has heavily invested in the ventures and Shah is only a caretaker for the Karachi-based Mumbai don who was declared a global terrorist by the US authorities recently.

The Indian embassy in its letter last week to Nepal government said it had "credible information" that Dawood has heavily invested in Shah's ventures and asked for an immediate investigation. The allegations are not new, but it is probably for the first time that India is claiming that it has such concrete evidence....Shah was emphatic when he denied any wrong on his part during a long interview this correspondent had with him on a rain-swept evening at his office in Kathmandu. The man laughed and often kept poker face while denying being in a Pakistani jail, or being Dawood's front man, or even a smuggler. His mother's sudden death, Shah said in tears, was because of such allegations by India and his business rivals.

...But last week's letter to Nepal government indicates that Indian agencies may have managed irrefutable evidence to nail Shah. In the post-9/11 scenario and due to its heavy dependence on India, Nepal government cannot just ignore the Indian demand for detailed investigations against Shah. But it may not be easy to nail Shah, given the fact that he has friends far and wide in Nepal, and even within the palace.
Evidently, whatever the "irrefutable" evidence the Indian government had in 2004, it was insufficiently irrefutable to procure his arrest. And now he's dead. The wanted man is dead, murdered in broad daylight in front of the French embassy in a heavily secured area.
The Himalayan Times, quoting a witness, reported that the gunmen came nose-to-nose with Shah and then shot him several times and then quickly escaped from the crime scene.
Did someone deliver a personal message?

Also, police admit to "weakness" as they detain 18 people for questioning.

Police have raided various suspicious places of the capital last night and detained 18 persons in suspicion of involvement in the incident or having information about the murder of Jamim Shah.

Talking to Kantipur FM Monday morning, Nepal Police spokesperson Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Bigyan Raj Sharma said, police had sealed all exit points from Kathmandu, scanned suspicious persons leaving the valley, and mobilised security personnel in plain clothes to seek information on the incident.

Indirectly conceding weakness of security personnel in the incident DIG Sharma said, the police are investigating the incident from all angles. Meanwhile, a meeting of the top security officers held at the police headquarters Sunday accepted weakness of the police as the murderers fled from the scene without being caught.

Police have said, a silencer could have been used with the gun used to fire at Shah as police personnel deployed in the nearby security posts said they did not hear the firing.

There are at least half-dozen embassies around the area where the firing took place and the murders had fled through the road along the President's office and Police training academy among other places with high security sensitivity.

UPDATE:  Two more unconfirmed but interesting details:

1) It was reported Shah was scheduled to make a visit at the French embassy.

2) A sharpshooter attacked Shah (52) just outside the French Embassy in Lazmipat on the main road....The police said ‘it has not ruled out any possibility, including the use of cross border criminals and syndicate given the use of sharpshooter’ in the crime’.

Other reports give his age as 45.

Other reports say he was shot three times at point blank range -- twice in the head and once in the chest.

For the purposes of American consumption, the narrative goes roughly like this: Two men gun down self-made media tycoon near French embassy. Possible connection to "international crime syndicate" next breath Dawood Ibrahim. That should remind you of Mumbai and Pakistan and terrorism.


Penny said...

wow, odd how both killings took place near foreign embassies??

The first one took place near the American embassy and the second one takes place near the French embassy.

Both involved assassins on motorcycles?

Odd coincidence?

A. Peasant said...

yes, Pen, to me it's *very* odd. media barons, motorcycles, high security areas, embassies....

just like serial killers.

legal mumbo jumbo

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