Woman cop who went missing from Navi Mumbai in 2016 was murdered, say police

Murder charges added against four accused after one of them confesses to killing Ashwini Bidre-Gore

mumbai Updated: Mar 03, 2018 13:46 IST
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Hindustan Times
Navi Mumbai,police,missing cop
The police have learned the body was dumped in a creek near Vasai.(HT FILE)

The Navi Mumbai police on Friday added murder charges against the four accused arrested in connection with the disappearance of missing assistant police inspector Ashwini Bidre-Gore.

The body of Bidre-Gore, 37, who went missing on April 11, 2016, is yet to be found. The police arrested Abhay Kurundkar, 52, senior inspector with the security branch of Thane (rural) and the main accused in the case, from Vasai on December 7. Four days later, they arrested Rajesh Patil, 44, nephew of BJP leader Eknath Khadse, from Jalgaon. While Kurundkar’s driver, Kundan Bhandari, 51, was arrested on February 23, Mahesh Phalnikar, 48, a close friend of Kurundkar, was arrested from Pune on February 27.

The police have learned the body was dumped in a creek near Vasai. “Phalnikar told us that Gore was murdered and that he had helped the others in disposing of the body. We have added section 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) based on the statements given by him,” said Tushar Doshi, deputy commissioner of police (crime).

Bhandari and Phalnikar were produced before the judicial court on Friday and they have been remanded in police custody till March 5 and 9, respectively.

“Gore was married, but she was in a relationship with Kurundkar. The Gore family always suspected his involvement in her disappearance. We later got some photographs and videos from Gore’s laptop, suggesting she was close to him. He was arrested based on technical evidence,” said a crime branch official.

Initially, Kurundar told the police Gore had gone to a vipassana centre. The police checked at all centers in Mumbai, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand among others, but couldn’t find the woman. “The day Bidre went missing, Kurundkar called Patil several times. After that Patil travelled to Mumbai from Jalgaon. The mobile phones of all three of them were traced to the same place near Mumbai, leading to their arrest,” the officer said.

The police had sought the court’s permission to conduct narcoanalysis and brain mapping tests on Kurundkar and Patil. But both the accused refused to give their consent. Their statements, however, led the police to the other two accused.

Inspector Sangeeta Alphonso, who has been appointed by the CM’s office to supervise the investigation, said, “We cannot disclose much as we have not found the body.”

Gore’s family wants Hemant Nagrale, the police commissioner of Navi Mumbai, to be made a co-accused in this case. “We had told the police everything at the time of registering the case. But Nagrale did not get the accused arrested. He misused his post by helping the accused in hiding the evidence,” said Raju Gore, he husband. “We met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in January and narrated the incident. It was only then that the case was transferred to the crime branch,” he said.

In December, Nagrale had said that the allegations against him are baseless.

First Published: Mar 03, 2018 13:46 IST