Talvatpali village in Ratnagiri district’s Khed taluka is one of the 15 villages in the state where people with the surname Palande are concentrated. When the name Vijay Palande name cropped up in connection with murders in Mumbai, villagers from Talvatpali started tracing his roots to determine if he hailed from their village.
Seated in his home, Milind Palande, the sarpanch of Talvatpali village, told this HT reporter: “There are three Vijay Palandes in our village and several in the 15 villages where most Palandes live. We were determined to trace the black sheep who has brought us such a bad name.”
Their doubts were replaced with shock when a local newspaper reported Palande’s name as Vijay Bhivajirao Palande. “Bhivajirao Palande had served in the army and fought in World War II. He was a respected figure. I remember, he was more than 6 feet tall and we were in awe of him. His younger brother, Shivjirao, also joined the army. The duo, with another sibling, Nanajirao, made an illustrious family,” said Milind.
Milind’s father, Manohar, and the local police patil, Sitaram Palande, then approached Nanajirao’s son Janardhan, who is now the only member of the family who lives in the family house in the village. “Janardhan confirmed that Bhivajirao had a son named Vijay who has not visited Talvatpali since childhood.”
When this reporter visited family house in Kalvat, only Janardhan’s wife was at home. “We are relatives of Vijay, but we have not done anything. He is responsible for the murders. I have not seen him for so long that I will not be able to identify him even if we come face to face,” she said, refusing to disclose her name. Manohar said the Palandes are a peaceful community. “Never in the past has anyone from our village been associated with such a crime. It is the city lifestyle that has corrupted our young generation.”