The Pawanraje Nimbalkar murder case has exposed Navi Mumbai police’s failure in cracking it despite investigating it for over two and a half years.
Then state home minister R.R. Patil gave a clean chit to Padamsingh Patil on the floor of the House in April 2008, based on Navi Mumbai police investigations. The CBI is expected to question the investigating officials on the delay and submit a report.
Padamsingh’s name cropped up on the June 3, 2006, itself, the day of the murder, when Nimbalkar’s supporters and his family blamed him for the murder. But Navi Mumbai police chose to ignore it. While political enmity was one of the motives being probed, the police repeatedly said they suspected a property dispute to be the motive.
According to the home minister’s statement, Navi Mumbai police questioned over 100 people, including Padamsingh Patil, but made no headway. It finally zeroed in on four suspects with criminal records, who last spoke to Nimbalkar.
In January and March, 2007, lie-detector tests were conducted on Ismail Dastagir Patel (49), Feroze Bashir Khan (30), Tanaji Dharmraj Patil (30) and Siddiqui Ibrahim Shaikh (27).
Police said that Feroze, a Chhota Rajan gang member and Tanaji, who had three murder cases againt him, failed the test and narco tests were conducted on them. Tanaji held Padamsingh and his younger brother Ajit Babu responsible for the murder, but Navi Mumbai police dismissed it as a ploy to mislead them.