A serial killer struck early on Saturday in Lonavla, battering to death five sleeping porters in the town’s vegetable market. Four others were attacked, but survived. A man in his 20s — Manishkumar Pandey, a resident of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh — was arrested within hours. Police said he is the killer. An accomplice, Babban Yadav, was arrested in the evening in Khandala.
District Superintendent of Police Vishwas Nangare-Patil brought Pandey to a press conference in the evening. Nangare-Patil said the duo was also suspected to be behind two recent murders. “Pandey must be perverted. Why else would he kill so many people who have no money?” said Nangare-Patil. Pandey, said the officer, was a security guard at a hotel; Yadav was a colleague.
Officers said on condition of anonymity that they have recovered crucial evidence like blood-stained clothes and the bamboos used for the murders.
The bodies, which were discovered early in the morning, were so badly mangled that only two — Yeshvant Shinde and Barku Ghare — could be identified till late evening. The stunned hill town, Mumbai’s favourite weekend getaway, 60 km to the east, remained shut on Saturday.