The lure of easy money blinded five property dealers, one of whom was arrested yesterday by New Panvel police for murdering the others. According to the police, the four victims were told by Chandrakant Waghmare (28), who’s also a tantrik, that if they brought a few lakh rupees he would double the money. The accused claimed since he was in possession of a nagmani (cobra pearl), all he would have to do was chant a few magic words and money would start pouring from the sky.
Police recovered bodies of the four estate agents from a farmhouse at Shirole village on November 14. The deceased were identified as Ramdas Patil, Nitin Joshi, Pritam Gharat and Balaram Topale. Ramdas’s uncle Datta Patil is vice-chairman of Panvel Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) and owner of the farmhouse.
Waghmare is an estate agent and is also known as a dani baba. “The accused and the four victims — all property dealers — had met two months ago and during discussions Waghmare told them that he was a tantrik and could create money out of thin air. So, all of them decided to meet on Diwali at the farmhouse of Datta Patil,” said an officer from New Panvel police station.
The victims brought money in lakhs and also told family members that they would bring back more. “When all four got drunk Waghmare allegedly shot Gharat, Topale and Joshi, and then smashed Patil’s head with a stone as he had run out of bullets,” said the police officer.
Before fleeing with the cash, Waghmare allegedly planted his country-made pistol in Topale’s lifeless hands to mislead the police. “While we were investigating the case we spoke to the relatives of the victims and learnt about this person Waghmare. The accused escaped with at least Rs 10 lakh after killing the victims, but we are still checking that aspect as the figure might run into crores,” said Sunil Bajare, senior inspector of New Panvel police station.