Businessman held after cops find 750 grams of ammonium nitrate, gelatin sticks, firearms in car outside Kalewadi hotel; kin of arrested man say he's been framed, point to political rivalry
In a late-night operation on Saturday, the police arrested a car dealer near Hotel Ambience in Kalewadi with a huge cache of arms. Among the things recovered from him were 750 grams of ammonium nitrate and 3 kg of an unknown brown substance similar to dynamite that were found packed in two polythene bags.
Innocent? Gopal Khatri, the arrested car dealer
His wife Sarita. The businessman's wife says Khatri has been framed by
two people, who even molested her on Saturday. Pic/Navnath Kaple
The family of Gopal Khatri (46), the arrested car dealer, claimed he had been falsely implicated by a person called Deepak Nevani and his brother. The family said it suspected Khatri had been framed because he had filed a complaint against Nevani saying he gave blood money to someone to kill Deputy Mayor Dabbu Aaswani.
According to sources, Nevani is a friend of Amar Moolchandani, a local Congress leader. The sources said there was talk of the whole episode being the outcome of political rivalry between the Deputy Mayor and his Congress opponent.
Khatri, a resident of Pimpri, was remanded in police custody till September 20. After the recovery of the explosives, the police swung into action to trace the source of the explosives and the purpose for which they had been collected.
"We are investigating the case on the basis of the recovery of the explosives that were found in the car which was driven by Khatri," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rajesh Bansode. The action on Saturday was taken by the Crime Branch Unit One. Besides the ammonium nitrate and the brown powder that was said to be a sticky semi-solid substance, the police recovered detonators, gelatin sticks, three country-made revolvers, a pistol and eight live rounds, all loosely stacked in a blue polythene bag in the boot of a Swift car parked outside Hotel Ambience.
According to Police Inspector Sunil Deshmukh, Saturday's action was the result of a tip-off. Khatri's family said that he had sounded offk Deputy Commissioner (Zone III) about a threat to him and had demanded police protection just three days ago.
Also, Khatri's wife Sarita said she was molested by Nevani and his brother Anil on Saturday night. "The duo rang my bell and as I opened the door they indecently touched me and threatened me that I also will meet the same fate," she said. Khatri registered a case of molestation against the two at the Pimpri police station.
Deputy Mayor Dabbu Aaswani said, "Khatri had confided in me that Nevani was threatening him that he would frame him in a false case and we had gone to Deputy Commissioner Dnanyeshawar Chavan's office to submit an application that political protection be provided to him."