The local police, determined not to let the ruggedly beautiful Kumbharli Ghat with its dense forests and deep ravines be used for crime, have tightened security on the Ghat with barricades and inspections. The action came after aspiring producer Karan Kakkad’s remains were dumped there allegedly by Vijay Palande and his associate Dhananjaya Shinde.
On Thursday, as one drove to the Ghat from Karad, there was a queue of vehicles near the Aroli-Shirgaon police check post, waiting to enter the Ghat, which is on the Satara-Goa highway. The policemen were checking the cars, and noting down the registration number of vehicles and the drivers’ names in case of suspicion.
It’s through this check-post that Palande and Shinde drove the BMW with Kakkad’s body parts packed in plastic bags in the car’s boot on the night of March 7. Earlier, two policemen would man the check post, now there are four. The night patrols have also increased, the officials said.
Head constable Prakash Kadam, who was at the check post, said: “We check trucks and tempos regularly. Who would have thought someone travelling in such an expensive car would be carrying hacked body parts?” Another official, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that they would almost never check high-end cars.
“What if some minister or bureaucrat or our senior officials are in it? We would get pulled up. But now there are specific instructions, so we check each and every car,” he added.
The 17-km-long Kumbharli Ghat, which is a part of the Sahyadri range near Chiplun, Ratnagiri district, is a treacherous place to navigate in the dark. “Around 2am, a patrolling van would come only if the torches were available. Otherwise we did not dare cross the Ghat as it is pitch dark,” said head constable Prabhakar Pawar. “But before this, there have been no reports of bodies being dumped here.”
Dilip Salunke, who helped the police find Kakkad’s head and torso, disagrees.
“In the past few years, there have been four to five instances of bodies being dumped here. But none were hacked,” said Salunke.