Mumbai, Feb. 8 (IANS) In a shocking incident, a prominent Shiv Sena (UBT) leader, Abhishek Ghosalkar, was shot repeatedly during a Facebook Live interaction by Morris Noronha, a local goon and gambler, who later committed suicide by shooting self, here on Thursday evening.
Ghosalkar was rushed to the Karuna Hospital in the LIC Colony, barely a kilometre away, where he succumbed to the bullet injuries soon afterwards.
According to the sequence of events, Noronha had invited Ghosalkar for a local public event and then conducted a Facebook Live interaction for 40 minutes at his office in IC Colony in Borivali West.
Ghosalkar was sitting on a sofa and talking with some online visitors on a mobile phone positioned on a tripod about local civic issues.
At one point, the assailant, notorious as ‘Morris-bhai’ in the vicinity, came and sat beside Ghosalkar briefly. They warmly interacted before the camera before Morris got up to step outside.
Appearing to end the live social media show, Ghosalkar said, “God bless you, we will go outside and we will start,” as he stood up from the sofa when Morris suddenly returned, whipped out a revolver and fired at least three rounds at him.
Taken unawares by the sudden attack, Ghosalkar could be seen screaming, stumbling forward and falling down, with at least one bullet went in his chest and one in the shoulder, even as videos of the incident with the gunshots went viral.
Seconds later, even Morris went some metres away and shot himself at least four bullets and collapsed in a pool of blood, sending shockwaves in the city.
The son of senior SS-UBT leader Vinod Ghosalkar, Abhishek was a former BMC Corporator from Dahisar Ward No. 7, and was considered among the key second-rung youth leaders of the party headed by ex-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Abhishek’s wife, Tejasvee A. Ghosalkar, was also a BMC Corporator, while Vinod Ghosalkar is an ex-MLA and till recently, was the Chairman of Mumbai Building Repairs & Reconstruction Board (MBRRB).
The assailant enjoyed a dubious reputation as a local “goon and an expert gambler” who used to frequent top casinos all over the world, according to people in the neighbourhood dominated by the minority Christian community.
The provocation for Ghosalkar’s killing is reportedly out of personal enmity as he was instrumental in getting Morris jailed last year in a criminal case. Morris nursed a deep grudge against him.
Top SS-UBT leaders like Aditya Thackeray, Sanjay Raut and others strongly condemned the murderous attack on their party leader and targetted Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
Former Union minister Anant Geete rushed to the hospital to inquire after Ghosalkar’s condition, but declined to speak to the media, while top Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders like Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Vijay Wadettiwar, Leader of Opposition (Council) Ambadas Danve, Jitendra Awhad, Kishore Tiwari and others slammed the state government for the ‘total breakdown’ of rule of law in the state.
Maharashtra’s ruling Shiv Sena-BJP leaders like Deepak Kesarkar, Atul Bhatkalkar, Pravin Darekar and others also condemned the killing.
Top police officials, including Additional Commissioner of Police, DCP, ACP and others, have rushed to the double-crime spot and the hospital for investigation.
The entire locality has been cordoned off as a forensic team got cracking at the office where the live programme was held and outside where Morris ended his life.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: email@example.com)