Five men allegedly involved in the quadruple murders at Kurar over the weekend, were traced and arrested by the crime branch on Wednesday, following a three-day manhunt.
Uday Pathak, the main accused in the murders, is believed to have fled to Uttar Pradesh from where he is suspected to be headed for Nepal, the police said. The police are also questioning autorickshaw drivers as Pathak and his friends may have used autos to ferry the four victims to the hillock.
Joint commissioner of police, crime, Himanshu Roy said Vaibhav Chauhan, 23, Bhole Choube, 22, Amit Soni, 23, Hemant Gupta, 28, and Rashmikant Khatri, 22, were picked up from different areas early Wednesday morning.
Crime branch sources told HT that most of them were picked up near the Maharashtra-Gujarat border where they had fled to after the crime.
Roy said those arrested had actively participated in the crime, from kidnapping to the murders. “Their exact role is still to be established. That will become clear when they are confronted by the other accused,” Roy said. Police suspect more than 10 persons committed the murders.
The bodies of the four men were found with their throats slit on a hillock in Kurar village on Monday. The men had gone missing on Saturday night following which their families and friends had contacted the Kurar police. The police allegedly did not take cognisance of their complaint till Monday afternoon when they registered a case of kidnapping and finally found the four decomposed bodies. The four were identified as Ganesh Karanje, 24, Dinesh Ahire, 25, Chetan Dhule, 24, and Bharat Kundle, 27.
A police officer from Kurar police said the 18-year-old woman, who had lodged a non-cognisable complaint against Pathak on the day of the crime and who was suspected of providing an alibi for Pathak is, prima facie, speaking the truth. “However, it is too premature to comment. The sequence of events will only be clear once Pathak is arrested,” said Ramrao Pawar, additional commissioner of police (north region).
Meanwhile, the police said the friends of the four dead men are not cooperating. “The four deceased and some friends, had got into a fight with the accused which resulted in the killings. But these friends are now not cooperating with the investigations,” said Dhanaji Nalavade, senior inspector of Kurar police station.
Events that led to the brutal killings…
Bharat Kundle, a water purifier mechanic had come to a doctor’s clinic in Malad itself, along with his friend Chetan Dhule, to collect payment for an installation job
Uday Pathak, who was drinking at a bar on the other side of the road, thought Chetan was staring at him and allegedly threw a glass at him.
Chetan retaliated by throwing a bottle at him that was lying in the garbage nearby
A raging brawl ensued between Uday and Chetan/Bharat.
The duo then left the place and returned after 10-20 minutes with 6-7 of their friends and thrashed Uday
Uday’s friends, swearing revenge, tricked four of Bharat’s and Chetan’s friends into meeting them, kidnapped them, bundled them into two autorickshaws and took them to the hillock in Kurar
There Uday allegedly slit their throats one by one with a chopper after his friends had mercilessly beaten up the four
The group then smashed the faces of the four victims with stones lying nearby to ensure that the bodies could not be