Pune businessman and RTI applicant murdered; two arrested
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Pune businessman and RTI applicant murdered; two arrested

The deceased, Vinayak Shirsath, 32, a resident of Shivane area of Pune, had filed multiple applications under Right to Information (RTI) with various authorities

pune Updated: Feb 13, 2019 14:42 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,RTI applicant,Vinayak Shirsath
A senior PMRDA official said that the authority had acted on some of the applications Shirsat had filed while taking action against unauthorised constructions. (Rahul Raut / HT Photo )

A local businessman associated with the city unit of Republican Party of India (A) was found murdered on Monday night at Tamhini ghat, 12 days after he went missing. The Pune police crime branch cracked the case within hours and arrested two men, while the third, who was known to the victim according to the officials, is still at large.

The deceased, Vinayak Shirsath, 32, a resident of Shivane area of Pune, had filed multiple applications under Right to Information (RTI) with various authorities, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), and Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA). He sought details on alleged illegal constructions in Ambegaon and Narhe, according to a senior police official.

A senior PMRDA official said that the authority had acted on some of the applications Shirsat had filed while taking action against unauthorised constructions.

The two arrested men were identified as Farukh Shaikh and Mukhtar Ali, who had gone to Madhya Pradesh before fleeing to Telangana from where they were arrested, according to Sameer Shaikh, assistant commissioner of police, crime-1, Pune. “We are yet to arrest the third suspect. The motive will be clear once we arrest him,” said Shrirish Sardeshpande, deputy commissioner of police (crime branch).

According to family members of the deceased, he was missing since January 30. “Shirsat called his wife at 1-1:30pm on January 30 and said he was coming home for lunch. But his phone became unreachable since 4 pm on that day,” said his sister-in-law Manisha Kishor Shirsath. The deceased had a business of plaster of Paris contract work, according to Manisha.

The family members have alleged that the police remained inactive in the case even though the authorities were alerted about the deceased going missing. His SUV, Mitsubishi Pajero, was reported to have been found by the police.

As the family reported that Shirsat was missing, a case under Section 363 (kidnapping) of Indian Penal Code was registered at Bharati Vidyapeeth police station on February 5, according to Priti Tipre, assistant police commissioner of Lashkar division.

“Why did the police take seven days to file the case? When we went to follow-up with the police, we were told that they will bring back my son within 10 days. When we started to protest in front of the police station (on Monday), the police told us to stop,” said Asha Shirsath, mother of the deceased man.

The body of the man, who was reported missing on January 31, was found in Tamhini Ghat around Monday midnight. The body was brought up by the police and was identified with the help of family members.

Officials said that the body had been lying in the bushes of Tamhini ghat for over a week and had decomposed beyond recognition. However, the police said that the body had stab wounds as was also found in the post-mortem advance report.

The third suspect in the case, Om Prakash Verma, who was known to the deceased, was detained by the police officials of Bharati Vidyapeeth police station during the investigation of the missing case, multiple family members of the deceased said. However, he was let go and has been missing since. “He has fled and has left with his wife and children. Now the police are unable to find him,” said Pooja Tayad, the deceased man’s elder sister who is married and lives in Kothrud.

The father of the deceased man, Sudhakar Shirsath, has submitted a list of over 70 builders alleging that some of them could have been behind the murder. Senior police officials said they suspect that the missing friend of the man, Verma, could be behind the murder.

First Published: Feb 13, 2019 13:54 IST