Wire evidence revealed in Fresno murder-for-hire plot

FRESNO, Calif.

The investigation plays out like a TV crime drama. Police taped a recording device to a convicted felon, then sent him in to seal the deal on a murder-for-hire against a former business partner. But defense attorneys say there's something missing.

The case against Daljit Singh Multani is stacking up. Court documents released this week show how police built the case with help from an informant who once worked for Multani. He said Multani offered to pay $2000 for the murder of Rama Dawar -- a former business partner and City of Fresno planning commissioner.

"Most of what's alleged is coming from the mouth of an informant," said Nicholas Capozzi, who's working with his father to represent Multani.

Multani's lawyers point out that the informant has a long criminal history -- including convictions for burglary, transport or sales of narcotics, filing a forged document, and grand theft. But the informant wore a wire for police and over the course of about a month, he recorded a few conversations with Multani.

When they got a warrant for Multani's arrest, police cited one discussion in which Multani was recorded saying "I want to take him out" when referring to Dawar.

The case may look good on paper, but defense attorneys say there are big holes. For example, prosecutors need to prove Multani took steps to make the murder happen.

Police say he gave the informant a gun, but court documents show the informant didn't wear the wire for that exchange.

"That transaction has no record, audio-wise, of the defendant saying anything to the informant," Capozzi said. "In fact, visual surveillance -- police have no record of seeing a gun until the informant hands it over to them."

Prosecutors haven't yet turned over the recordings to the defense.

Multani will be back in court Wednesday, but it could take a while for more information to come out.

Police tell Action News they were conducting interviews Tuesday afternoon and their investigation could lead to more charges.

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