A Bharatiya Janata Party corporator from Pune has earned the dubious reputation of being the sole politician convicted for a murder.
A Pune court on Friday ordered life imprisonment to corporator Datta Khade and two others in a murder case. Khade, known to be close to a senior BJP leader, represents the upmarket Deccan Gymkhana area in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
Khade, also known as DK in Pune’s political and business circles, is notorious for his crime links and has been a suspect in 21 other serious crimes including assaults.
Everyone in the political circles was surprised in 2006 when BJP announced his candidature for the PMC elections from Deccan Gymkhana.
The crime dates back to 2003 when Rajesh Pardeshi, a resident of Ganesh Nagar area of Dhayari, was murdered by Khade and his men at the Ferguson College Road at 4.30 pm. The reason for the murder was previous enmity.
Four men on motorcycles accosted Pardeshi and his associates. Pardeshi’s associates fled as one of the men drew a knife and stabbed Pardeshi repeatedly in his chest. They fled after a profusely bleeding Pardeshi collapsed. He was taken to a private hospital where he was declared dead an hour later.
The murder in full public view had shocked Puneites and led to a massive manhunt against the accused.
Apart from Khade, Additional Sessions Judge S.S. Phansalkar-Joshi awarded life sentence to his accomplices Satish Dhole and Sunil Fasge.
The fourth accused, Dattatreya, is dead. Khade’s defence lawyer Shrikant Shivde had argued that Appa had stabbed Pardeshi. And since he had died, the three others just accompanying him should be shown leniency.
According to police sources, Khade was suspected of underworld links, first with Chhota Rajan gang and then Arun Gawli gang. In 1999, the Pune police had also arrested a Chhota Shakeel gang member who had confessed that he had been asked to kill Khade.
He took everyone by surprise in 2006 when his candidature was announced by the BJP. He won the election by sizeable margin.
Currently, the party leaders in Pune were considering him as a candidate for Shivajinagar assembly constituency for the election slated to be held in 2009.