All’s well that ends well. That’s what relieved cops were telling themselves yesterday, after they averted a major embarrassment by managing to capture Vijay Palande, the main accused in the high profile Oshiwara murder case, after he wriggled out of their grasp following his arrest on Tuesday. Police sources, who are now busy tying up the loose ends of the case, revealed that Arun Tiku’s murderers had meticulously planned his murder and had even decided how they would dispose of his body.
Cops found a length of rope, plastic bags and a knife in the Oshiwara apartment. They had also arranged for a car with which they would transport Arun’s body and dump it in a jungle far away. However, their plans hit a roadblock early on, when a witness spied on the murder, forcing them to abandon their elaborate plans to erase the evidence. They left the body in the apartment and fled from the spot.
Red corner notice
Meanwhile, cops plan to issue a red-corner notice against a German woman named Nivis Ligenza, who had been introduced to Anuj as Palande’s wife. Palande had been urging Anuj to sign a leave and licence agreement with Ligenza, under which the two other accused – Dhananjay Shinde and Manoj Gajkosh – would be able to stay in the plush apartment as paying guests.
“The accused had planned to gain a foothold into the flat with the help of Ligenza. After that, she would have left for Germany, and after the murder of Anuj, the police would be left searching for her, as she had signed the lease document,” added the officer. After the end of a high drama of the escape and capture of the main suspect Palande, the crime branch Unit VIII officers handed his custody to the Oshiwara police.
After recapturing Palande, cops presented the three accused in court yesterday, which remanded Palande and Gajkosh in police custody till April 16. Shinde, on the other hand, was sent to judicial custody after he claimed that he would confess to the crime. Fearing that Palande would attempt to make a scoot for freedom again, officers from three police stations were assigned to escort Palande to the Andheri court yesterday.
Anuj Tiku, the murdered businessman’s son, hasn’t yet been given a clean chit, as he has been found giving different statements. Cops from the Oshiwara police station said that they would first interrogate Palande and Gajkosh, and if they give indications of Anuj’s involvement, they would question Anuj and even seek court permission to conduct a brain mapping test on him. “We will investigate the case further to find out whether Anuj was involved in the murder of his father,” said Pratap Dighavkar, DCP (Zone IX). “As of now, our understanding is that Palande and the other two accused had planned to eventually eliminate Anuj, to gain possession of his flat. When Arun came to Mumbai suddenly, they decided to kill him too,” said an officer from Oshiwara police station.
The police are also investigating the involvement of a woman who has been identified as Simran, who is Palande’s girlfriend and had been spending time with Anuj as well. “Palande had told Simran to divert Anuj’s attention as she and the three of them headed towards the farmhouse in Chiplun. Simran left the farmhouse the next day,” said the officer.
Palande wanted to flee to Thailand
After he escaped from police custody on Tuesday night, Vijay Palande, the prime accused in the murder case of Delhi-based businessman Arun Tiku, was nabbed from South Mumbai in the wee hours yesterday, while he was in the process of planning his flight to Thailand, police sources revealed yesterday. He managed to hoodwink four cops who were escorting him when he escaped from the police vehicle in Andheri, at 8.30 pm on Tuesday. An inquiry has been ordered to look into the role played by the four cops in Palande’s escape. According to the police, Palande was nabbed near Churchgate station at about 12.30 am yesterday. “A slight lapse in alertness led to his escape, but a massive manhunt was launched immediately after. Our efforts yielded results, as he was successfully nabbed from near Churchgate station,” said a crime branch official. After slithering through the police net, Palande met another person, and changed his clothes to escape detection. He then called his sister and another associate, asking him to get his passport ready. “He reached Churchgate station from Andheri. From there, he was planning to return to Andheri to enter into the International Airport, to fly out to Thailand, where visas are available on arrival,” said the official.