The assailants shot at him and assaulted Manoj Mhatre with sharp knives. They ambushed Mhatre when he got home around 9 pm. "Mhatre's driver had dropped him near his house at Oswal Wadi. He was walking home when at least five persons attacked him with sharp knives and fired two rounds," said a cop. "One of the fired rounds hit his back and he succumbed to the injuries," said DCP Manoj Patil, Bhiwandi. Mhatre was in his early 40s and was the leader of Congress in the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation.
Manoj Mhatre's cousin was named as the prime suspect in his cold-blooded murder. "Manoj's cousin Prashant Mhatre is a prime suspect, along with the three other assailants," said an API from Narpoli police station. According to this official, there were cases registered against Manoj and Prashant earlier as well. "This family rivalry existed earlier well, and cases have been registered against both of them in the past. There are eight bullet injuries on the body, as well as multiple stab marks behind the forehead, head, and back. His right hand has also been cut, leaving only his thumb intact," he added.
Driver witnessed attack
Complainant Pradeep Mhatre, Manoj's driver and eyewitness in the case, told the police that Manoj had a rivalry with Prashant for the past few years. “Pradeep picked up Manoj in his Innova and they headed for his office after dropping the others off. They left for home around 8.30pm. He was parking the car when he heard a loud noise. When he turned, he saw Charanjiv alias Motu Mhatre holding a 12-bore gun in his hand and firing at Manoj. He then saw Mittun Mohan Mhatre and Mahesh Mhatre holding a big sword and assaulting Manoj, while Prashant too was assaulting Manoj with a small sword," said a police officer.
Suspect was to be externed
Bhiwandi corporator Manoj Mhatre was killed for nothing. His cousin brother Prashant Mhatre murdered him so he could become corporator instead. What he didn't know was that the Bhiwandi police was actually planning to drive him out of the district. Prashant had always coveted Manoj's position in society as corporator and leader of Congress in the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation (BNMC). DCP Manoj Patil (Bhiwandi) confirmed that they had planned to banish Prashant and had spent more than a month collecting evidence and witnesses. He was to be externed before the upcoming election in April 2017. Prashant and his parents are absconding and neither the Bhiwandi police nor the Crime Branch have managed to trace them yet. (In Pic: Nearly 1,000 locals gather to demand justice for slain corporator)
Breakthrough in the case
The Narpoli police on Sunday arrested two of the accused in the murder case. The arrested accused were identified as Mahesh Pandit Mhatre (25) and Mayur Prakash Mhatre alias Koko (20). "They were held from CST. They claim that they committed the crime for Prashant Mhatre," said Manoj Patil, DCP, Bhiwandi. The duo was produced in court and remanded in police custody till February 28. "During the investigation, it was found that both the accused were the ones who attacked Manoj with a sword, which can also be noticed in the CCTV footage," said a police official. Local cops and Thane crime branch found that all the accused fled to Daman after the murder