Shock and panic has gripped this small, sleepy town of Satara, known for its picturesque and historical locations, after it emerged that one of their residents -- Dr Santosh Pol -- was a serial killer.
42-year-old Pol, in a chilling confession, admitted to have killed at least six people, including five women between 2003 and 2016.
Bemused locals, after Pol’s arrest and subsequent recovery of five bodies including that of an anganwadi worker Mangala Jedhe from his farmhouse here, tell of shock but are now lauding the police for apprehending him.
Large ‘congratulatory’ hoardings line the roads in and around the town with residents breathing a sigh of relief that a serial killer, who silently lived on their doorsteps, has been exposed.
“Our town is known for all the good reasons, its beautiful locales, film shoots. However, this man has brought infamy to our town across the nation and should be hanged till death,” said an angry Kishor Rahate, a paan vendor who lives just metres away from Pol’s residence here.
Echoing Rahate, Dipak Oswal, a relative of one of the victims, Nathmal Bhandari, said that people from the film industry frequent the place for shootings but now these mass murders have brought disrepute to this otherwise nondescript town, where people live a quiet life away from urban hassles.
Police inspector Vinayak Vetal, one of the police officials from the team that cracked the multiple murder case, said that Pol had created terror among cops here by setting up ACB traps on them.
“However, when we started investigation in connection with the missing case of Jedhe and his name cropped up, we told all our police personnel not to fall prey to any of his lures and be conscious while dealing with him. This ultimately paid off,” he said.
Meanwhile, people living in Krushnai apartments in Wai, where Pol used to live with his wife and two sons, termed him as a silent man and said that they never had any verbal or physical spat with him or his family.
“He was not a menace and was never conversant with his neighbours living here. It (the murder revelation) was a great shock for us,” said Appu Shaikh, one of his neighbours.
Incidentally, Bhandari, one of the victims of Pol, dubbed as ‘Dr Death’, used to live in the same building.
According to Bhandari’s family members, the relations between him and Bhandari was cordial and they used to visit each other’s houses often.