In a chilling reminder of the Vijay Palande case, three of the six men arrested recently for the abduction and murder of a builder have confessed to their involvement in a similar case involving a loan agent in 2010. The main accused in both the cases is Gopal Pandey, the police said.
According to the Borivli police, Pandey and the deceased loan agent from Borivli, Sanjay Ramchandra Chouhan, had a financial tussle. On March 11, 2010, Chouhan went to Pandey’s office in Shimpoli area of Borivli. Pandey, along with his five accomplices, abducted Chouhan. “Pandey and his 5 aides locked Chouhan in a room and beat him to death. To destroy the evidence, they burned his body in the jungles near Virar and then threw the remains in a river,” said Mahesh Patil, deputy commissioner of police, zone 11.
The five other accused were identified as Haroon Shaikh, 35, Birbal Singh, 37, Afzal Sheikh, 34, Azad Chowdhary, 28, and Shashikant Yadav, 30. The police said that Pandey has several cases of dacoity and kidnapping registered against him at the Borivli and Manikpur police stations.
Pandey and his accomplices Haroon Shaikh and Birbal Singh were arrested by unit 11 of the crime branch last week in connection with the abduction and murder of builder Nitin Dhakan.
The accused had allegedly employed the same modus operandi to murder Dhakan. They kidnapped and beat Dhakan to death and then burned the body in the forests near Kelve road. The police said that the accused kidnapped Dhakan after a land deal with him did not materialise.
“After Pandey and his gang was arrested in connection with Dhakan’s abduction and murder case, the accused were handed over to the Borivli police for further investigation. During custodial interrogation, Pandey said that he and his two accomplices — Haroon Shaikh and Birbal Singh – were involved in the abduction and murder of Chouhan,” said Patil.
Based on the leads provided by Pandey, three others —Afzal Sheikh, Azad Chowdhary, 28, and Shashikant Yadav — were arrested in connection with Chouhan’s murder on Sunday.
The modus operandi in the two cases is similar to the murders committed by Vijay Palande and his aides Manoj Gajkosh and Dhananjaya Shinde. The trio has arrested for the murder of senior citizen Arun Tikku and aspiring Bolywood producer Karan Kakkad.
Palande and his men would kill his victims and chop their body parts into several pieces which would then be thrown in the ravines of the Sahyadri range.