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HRS chief Dhananjay Desai held in Mohsin Shaikh murder case

Dhananjay Desai is believed to have instigated activists of Hindu Rashtra Sena, who had gone on a rampage in Wagholi and Hadapsar areas on June 2

The Pune police arrested Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) chief Dhananjay Desai last night in connection with the murder of 28-year-old IT graduate Mohsin Shaikh (in pic) in Sayyadnagar area of Hadapsar on the night of June 2, following communal violence in the city. With the arrest of Desai, the total number of persons arrested in the case has now risen to 20.

Mohsin Shaikh

Desai is believed to have instigated activists of HRS who had gone on a rampage in Wagholi and Hadapsar areas on June 2. The mob had burnt several bakeries in the area and targeted religious structures, before attacking Mohsin. After murdering him, HRS activists had allegedly exchanged messages on their mobile phones, saying ‘one wicket has fallen’.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) Sanjay Kumar confirmed that Desai has been taken into custody by the police in connection with the murder of Mohsin. Kumar had earlier that Desai would be arrested in the case only after police gathered enough evidence against him.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Gopinath Patil, investigating officer in the murder case, said his team arrested Desai at 7 pm. However, he remained tight-lipped about the nature of evidence collected against him that had led to his arrest.

Desai was earlier arrested in the case registered at Loni Kalbhor police station on charges of publishing and distributing inflammatory material promoting enmity between Hindu and Muslim communities. After the duration of his police custody was completed, Desai was remanded to judicial custody by the court on Monday, and lodged in Yerawada jail. The police had to obtain a production warrant from court to get Desai in their custody over the Mohsin murder case.

The remaining suspects arrested in Mohsin’s murder case have been remanded to police custody by the court till June 12.

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