Duo kidnaps, kills and cremates 19-yr-old over petty fight

Cops were able to crack the murder when they found the victim’s handkerchief in the house of one of the accused; the killers spilled the beans during interrogation

Pune: Two youths were arrested in Pune over the weekend for kidnapping and murdering their erstwhile friend, to avenge him for a petty fight over who gets to lead a local Navratri procession. The accused even cremated the 19-year-old victim, scattered his ashes in the holy Nira River, and prayed for his soul at a temple in Pune.

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Aakash Pawar
Deceased: Aakash Pawar

The deceased youth has been identified as 19-year-old Aakash Ashok Pawar, a resident of Kakadechawl, in Dhankawadi. The police have also arrested Sagar Dharmatti (22) and his accomplice Ajay Kamble (20) for allegedly abducting and killing Pawar. On October 24, Pawar’s mother Sangita had approached the Sahakarnagar police station to register a missing person’s complaint for her son. The police investigated based on the complaint, and detected the murder.

19-year-old missing
Aakash had gone missing last Saturday after he left his house to run some errands. He was a school dropout and was working and preparing for his SSC board examination. His mother Sangita works as a domestic help and comes home in the afternoon to make lunch for her children. On Saturday, when she came home, Sangita noticed that Aakash was not there. She assumed that he had gone to a friend’s place to study. However, Aakash had not returned home in the evening as well. Sangita tried looking for him and spoke to his friends as well, but they were clueless on his whereabouts. She later approached the police and lodged a missing person’s complaint.

Kerchief clue
The Sahakarnagar police began investigating the case and subsequently chanced upon Aakash’s murder. The cops had questioned several friends and one of them had mentioned that Aakash had a heated argument with Dharmatti and Kamble earlier in the day. The duo had threatened to kill Aakash as well.

Accordingly, the police detained them, but they did not reveal much. The cops followed the duo to gather some clues. Later, they searched Kamble’s house and found Aakash’s handkerchief there. The kerchief became a clinching piece of evidence and the duo was called in for questioning once again. They confessed to their crime and narrated their motive behind murdering Aakash.

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Dharmatti held a grudge against Aakash since 2012, when they had argued over who gets to lead the toran procession, which is taken out by locals during Navratri. Dharmatti and Aakash had argued on the same issue several times since then. On October 24, Dharmatti and Kamble argued with Aakash once again and forcefully took him to Kamble’s house, where they eventually murdered him.

Police says
Speaking to mid-day, S G Shinde, inspector in-charge of Sahakarnagar police station, who is investigating the case said, “After killing Aakash, they stuffed his body into a gunny bag. The duo took a friend’s car, dumped Aakash’s body into the trunk of the car and drove to Sarola village, which is 46 km from Pune. They found a funeral ghat and cremated Aakash at midnight. Kamble and Dharmatti waited to collect his ashes, and proceeded to scatter them in the holy Nira River. Later, they went to a temple in Pune to pray for Aakash’s soul. We are probing the case further.”

The police have approached forensic experts in order to search for Aakash’s ashes, so that they can get further evidence. They are in possession of CCTV footage from a toll naka from where Kamble and Dharmatti had passed their vehicle.
Kamble and Dharmatti have no criminal record and a case of assault and attempt to murder has been registered against them. They were going to be produced before a judicial magistrate’s court, for remanding them to police custody for a week. Both accused have been arrested under section 363 (kidnapping), 302 (murder), 120 (criminal conspiracy), 120 B (tampering evidence and 34 (common interest) of the IPC.

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