Karan Kakkar’s murder was not the only case in which the accused, Vijay Palande, managed to keep the police in the dark. The police have revealed that the 1998 double murder case was also cracked only seven months after the gruesome killings. Palande met Anup Das, an Air India engineer, at Juhu-based Copper Chimney restaurant where the former worked as a waiter. Palande then introduced Das to Simran Sood, claiming that she was his sister.
On January 26, 1998, Palande convinced Das to go on a business trip with him to Mahabaleshwar, following which Palande sedated him on the way, murdered him and threw his body down the Kumbharli valley. A week later, Palande took Das’s father, Swaraj Ranjan, on the pretext of meeting his son, following which he killed him and abandoned the body on a Satara road.
“We never doubted Palande. He had known my son for at least five years and had blended so well with the family. It was only after my husband and son did not return for a month that we got suspicious,” said Usha Das, Anup’s mother.
A month later, on February 27, 1998, the deceased duo’s family filed a kidnapping complaint against Palande at DN Nagar police station. “Although Palande was arrested then, he was released on bail. It was only after the police found the severed bodies of the father-son duo that charges of murder were added against Palande, on August 18 that year,” said an official from DN Nagar police station.
In a similar fashion, Palande’s role in Kakkar’s murder and kidnapping case did not come to the fore until over a month later when he was arrested in the Arunkumar Tikku murder case.
“We do not know if it is the inefficiency on the police’s part or the excellent hide-and-seek skills of Palande, but it is evident that he has been very lucky in each of his escapes,” said the official.
After Palande was sentenced for life in November 1998, he was out on parole for two months, following which he escaped. When later found in 2006, the police discovered that he had a fake passport under the name of Kiran Kanubhai Rana. A case of cheating and forgery was filed against him, following which he was sent back to Kolhapur jail. The police officer who arrested Palande in 2006, Pradip Suryavanshi, is currently behind bars in the Lakhan bhaiya fake encounter case.
In 2009, he was released on bail after his lawyer argued that he had spent nine years in jail, and the DN Nagar police did not contest the claim.