Satara serial murders: Victims’ kin blame police laxity for tragedy

  • Satyajit Joshi, Hindustan Times, Wai (Satara)
  • Updated: Aug 17, 2016 23:41 IST
Santosh Pol, a resident of Dhom village near Wai, was arrested on August 11 from Mumbai by the Satara police for the kidnap and murder of anganwadi worker Mangala Jedhe

A day after a 42-year-old self-styled doctor who had been arrested on August 11 for the murder of an anganwadi worker confessed to having killed five more people over the past 13 years, relatives of the victims have blamed police laxity behind the serial killings in Wai tehsil of Satara district. They plan to meet higher police authorities seeking action against the guilty personnel.

The family members gathered outside Wai police station on Tuesday night. They decided not to press the demand till DNA tests are completed to identify five bodies, which were exhumed from from Santosh Pol’s farm and front yard. The 42-year-old, a resident of Dhom village near Wai, was arrested from Mumbai by the Satara police for the kidnap and murder of anganwadi worker Mangala Jedhe.

However, the relatives have pledged to take the issue to logical conclusion.

Pramod, son of Jedhe, said that his mother would have been alive had police acted immediately after complaint. “Precious two moths were wasted by the police,” he said.

Pramod, who is also a law student, rigorously followed up disappearance of his mother. He said the police acted only after he submitted call data record of his mother’s cell phone. The Missing complaint was later turned into a kidnapping case.

On the condition of anonymity, top officials said that the police are inclined to not treat missing complaints seriously as reasons are absolutely personal and related to family issues.

To dodge scrutiny, Pol had used anti-corruption bureau’s name to scare police personnel. Earlier, he had helped the ACB to trap two police personnel. The threat to use Right to Information was another pretext used by the quack to evade the police.

The Wai police have launched a fresh investigation into all missing complaints in the vicinity in the wake of the case. Sources said they are zeroing in on certain people, who were in contact with Santosh Pol.

In Cold Blood:

Santosh Pol confessed to have committed six murders. Of six, family members of five victims, registered a missing complaint with Wai police. Pol claimed to have murdered Salma Shaikh in January this year. But there is no missing complaint about her.

*Surekha Kisan Chikne, 30, a resident of Wadwali. Missing complaint in May 20, 2003.

*Vanita Narhari Gaikwad, 32, a resident of Dhom. Missing complaint in August 2006.

*Jagabai Laxman Poil, 40, a resident of Dhom. Missing complaint in August 2010.

*Nathmal Dhanaji Bhandari, 68, a resident of Wai. Missing complaint in December 2015.

*Mangala Bhiku Jedhe, 50, a resident of Welang. Missing complaint in June 2016.

* Pol confessed to have murdered Salma Shaikh, 30, in January this year. She was also a resident of Wai. But there was no missing complaint in this case. She was also a nurse.

The remains of Surekha Chikne’s body were found in courtyard of Pol’s house. Remains of bodies of Jagabai Pol, Nathmal Bhandari, Mangala Jedhe and Salma Shaikh were found near his poultry farm. Pol told the police that he threw away body of Vanita Gaikwad in nearby dam. It is yet to be located.

All of the victims had come into personal contact with Pol at some stage. Police have launched now fresh investigation in all missing complaints to ascertain whether he is involved in other crimes.

Police sources said Santosh Pol tried to dodge investigation by threatening them to trap in corruption case or using RTI and launching agitation.

Police suspect that Jyoti Mandhre was Pol’s next victim. Jyoti is a nurse and used to assist Pol. She had come to know about Pol’s history. Pol used to contact Mangala Jedhe through her cell phone. Jyoti is currently in police custody in connection with kidnapping of Mangala Jedhe.

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