Vijay Palande alias Karan Sood, who allegedly masterminded the murder of senior citizen Arun Tikku, had hatched the plan to take possession of the Lokhandwala flat where Tikku was killed and which was in his son Anuj’s name, six months ago, the police said on Tuesday.
Palande, who was convicted for nine years in 2000 for the double murder of Air India employees’ union leader Arun Das and his son at Kalina, came out of prison in 2009, Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime), said.
After his release, Palande changed his name to Karan Sood and started an export-import business and dabbled in the hospitality sector. Through his business, he met Nibis Ligneza, a German national whom he is said to have married.
Roy said Palande met Anuj two years ago through a common friend.
Anuj had come to the city from Delhi to become an actor and was living in his first-floor flat in Samarth Aangan building, Lokhandwala.
“Anuj’s father had purchased three 500 sq ft flats and converted them into one sprawling 3BHK seven years ago. It costs more than Rs 3 crore,” sources said.
To gain control of the flat, Palande got Anuj to rent out a part of the flat to Ligenza. On March 15, a two-year rental agreement was signed according to which Ligenza paid Anuj Rs 5 lakh as deposit and Rs 30,000 as rent. She returned to Germany soon after and Palande got his associates, Dhananjaya Shinde and Manoj Gajkosh, to live in the flat.
Tikku, a Delhi-based businessman, got a whiff of the situation and came to Mumbai last week. “He threw Shinde and Gajkosh out of the flat,” Roy said. “That’s when Palande decided to do away with Tikku, as he was the only obstacle in his plan.”
“They intended to cut the body into pieces and take it out of the flat to erase evidence,” Roy said. The plan went awry when a resident spotted Tikku flailing for help and called the police.