MANGALURU: Mangalureans woke up to a third brutal murder in a span of just 11 days on Saturday. This time, it was notorious rowdy-sheeter U S Eliyas alias ‘Target’ Eliyas, (31), infamous as ‘Target Group’ leader.
Eliyas was in deep sleep at his apartment at Kudupady, Jeppu in Mangaluru when the assailants plunged a sharp dagger into his chest. He was declared dead within minutes after being shifted to a private hospital.
Around 8.45 am, soon after Eliyas’s wife left home to a hospital for treatment, four persons walked into the apartment building. While two waited below, two others went to his flat and rang the doorbell. As soon as Eliyas’s mother-in-law opened the door, the duo forced their way inside, went to the bedroom, landed just one strike on his chest with the dagger that they had brought and fled the scene.
Eliyas’s 2-year-old son and his brother were also at home when the incident took place. Eliyas was facing over two dozen criminal cases like extortion, attempt to murder etc, and was out on bail only three days ago (January 11).
Police Commissioner T R Suresh said Eliyas’s mother-in-law has identified the killers when the photographs of suspects were shown and they will be nabbed soon. Eliyas’s wife, in her statement, has suspected the role of Dawood and Safan, who lead two different Target Groups in the city, behind the murder. She said her husband was facing threat from them owing to gang rivalry.
Eliyas who was also the vice-president of of Ullal Block Youth Congress, was in jail in connection with the attempt to murder of Dawood, also a rowdy-sheeter. Sources said the rival gang was waiting for a chance to take revenge. Though Eliyas was advised to stay in a secret location because of the threat, he had ignored it.
Eliyas struck at will, had no fear of law
Eliyas’s foray into crime began in his teens when he started selling cell phones stolen from the students of medical colleges in Deralakatte. The first case of an assault involving Eliyas was registered in Ullal in 2006. Later, he teamed up with 10 to 15 youths and formed ‘Target gang’ (named after his petty auto spare parts shops in Masthikatte, Ullal). They were allegedly involved in kidnapping, honey trapping and blackmail.
Target Group’s modus operandi
The women in Target group, who honeytrapped their victims were responsible for launch of splinter groups with a similar modus operandi. Senior police officials, on conditions of anonymity elaborating on the modus operandi, said two women in Target gang would first get acquainted with businessmen. The gang would take photographs and videos of them in compromising positions and use them to blackmail their victims. The victims yielding to Target gang’s blackmail tactics had paid money in lakhs of rupees. But Target team’s dream run ended with the police registering a complaint against gang leader Eliyas.
Cong links give ammo to BJP
Eliyas’ association with Congress has turned out to be an embarrassment for the grand old party. Eliyas was elected as vice-president of Ullal block youth Congress a year-and-a-half ago, following which he was found in many party events sharing stage with Food and Civil Supplies minister UT Khader and Congress MLA from Mangaluru North Moiuddin Bava.
Had nothing to do with him: Min
Dharwad: Minister U T Khader told reporters that he had nothing to do with Target Group leader Eliyas. He had opposed Eliyas’ entry into the Congress party, the minister said. “Eliyas was one of the office-bearers of Youth Congress. After his defeat in the election for president of district Youth Congress, he was appointed vice-president. He was also jailed after a tiff with Congress office-bearers”, said Khader.