Two guns and two cars confiscated from seven people arrested over Babita Deokaran’s murder
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Police have made a breakthrough in the murder of the senior Gauteng Health official who died after gunmen peppered her car with bullets while she was still inside.
Johannesburg - Police have made a breakthrough in the murder of the senior Gauteng Health official who died after gunmen peppered her car with bullets while she was still inside.
National police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said on Friday that seven people aged between 24 and 31 had been arrested in connection with Babita Deokaran’s murder. Two guns and two cars were also found and confiscated, she said.
“SAPS Gauteng Serious and Violent Crimes Unit in collaboration with SAPS Johannesburg K9, Johannesburg East Crime Intelligence, Fidelity Specialised Services and Community Active Protection operationalised information received and conducted a takedown operation at the suspects’ hideouts in Johannesburg.
“During the arrests, the police recovered two firearms and two vehicles,” said Muridili.
“We have deliberately left out the areas (where they were arrested) in order not to jeopardise the investigation
Deokaran, 53, had just returned from dropping her child off at school on Monday when she was gunned down. She was still in her car outside when she was shot.
She was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to her injuries.
Deokaran’s family they believed her killing was a hit.
“Someone tried to silence her because she was someone who always did things the right way,” said Bishop Tony Haripersadh, her brother-in-law. He is married to Deokaran’s sister, Pastor Shamilla Haripersadh.
Tony Haripersadh said Deokaran had confided in the family she was a “key” witness in the investigation.
“She stood for what was right and she was not afraid. Our dear sister died a noblewoman; our family salutes her. All we want now is justice and for the perpetrators to be brought to book.”
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) said on Tuesday that Deokaran, who was the chief director of financial accounting at the Gauteng Department of Health, was one of 300 witnesses in one of the SIU’s investigations into corruption in the awarding of tenders for PPE.
Muridili said a case of murder was registered by Mondeor Police Station and transferred to Provincial Head Office for investigation by the Serious and Violent Crimes Unit.
“The team of experienced investigators caught a break in the case when they received information that led to the arrest of the suspects from Crime Intelligence.
“The case docket has been transferred to the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation for further investigation. There is a possibility of more charges being added to the charge of murder when the suspects appear in court soon.”
Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole welcomed the arrest of the suspects and commended the investigating team’s breakthrough in the case.
“I am confident that the Hawks will work tirelessly to ensure that justice is served,” said Sitole.