Investigations into the murder case of a Borivli-based jeweller have helped cops crack an unsolved murder case from March 2010. Police said that of the six accused arrested in the murder case of jeweller Nitin Dhakan, one has confessed to killing a bank loan agent who was pressurising them to return a loan. Cops said that both victims were killed in a similar manner.
On April 26, Dhakan went missing, a day after which the Borivli police registered a missing person’s complaint. However, a few days later Dhakan’s brother discovered that his credit card was being used in the city. This development made the cops register a case of kidnapping, and they began scrutinising Dhakan’s phone call records.
The cops zeroed in on the main accused, Gopal Pandey (45) on June 12, who had orchestrated the killing over a property dispute. Pandey revealed the names of his other associates, Brajesh Mishra (33), Abhijit Bhosale (24), Birbal Singh (37), Haroon Sheikh (35), and Sachin Chorge (28).
Interrogations of the accused led the police to solve another mysterious disappearance of a loan agent, Sanjay Chavan from Shimpoli in Borivli, who went missing on March 11, 2010. “Gopal had confessed that on March 12, 2010, they killed Chavan who was pressurising him to return a loan of Rs 8 lakh which he had borrowed to buy a car,” said an officer from the Borivli police station.
Police believe that the accused poured kerosene on Chavan and set him on fire. Mahesh Patil, DCP, Zone XI, said, “They kidnapped Sanjay Chavan in March, 2010 and took him to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway and killed him. Key accused, Gopal Pandey and his associate confessed to the crime during interrogation.” He further said, “Police registered another murder case against them and will further investigate if they are involved in any other crime.” The police are now checking bank details of Pandey and other accused that are linked in the murder case.
Police registered another case under sections 302 (murder), 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent, secretly and wrongfully), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 120 (B) (punishment of criminal conspiracy) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the IPC.
According to Crime Branch officers, Dhakan and Pandey were planning a property deal that went wrong. On April 26, the two men had a huge argument, following which Dhakan called off the deal. Pandey and the other accused used Dhakan’s car to kidnap him, and drove him to the jungles of Manor on Mumbai- Ahmedabad Highway, where he was thrashed to death, cops said.
The accused doused his body in petrol and set it ablaze, according to the police. Two days later, Dhakan’s sister-in-law got a call from an unidentified person, claiming to be a relative, saying Dhakan had met with an accident and was admitted to a hospital in Mahalaxmi. The call was traced to a location outside the city, and was allegedly made by Pandey.
Dhakan’s phone records brought Pandey and his associates under the police scanner, and they were rounded up for questioning. On Tuesday, Crime Branch officers from Unit XI found the victim's remains, and said the accused confessed to the murder. On Sunday evening, police arrested three other accused, Afzal Shaik (34), Azad alias Ajay Chaudhary (28) and Shashikant alias Rajan Yadav (30), suspected to be involved in the murder of Chavan.