The anti-extortion Cell (AEC) of the Pune Crime Branch has arrested six suspects in connection with Thursday’s firing on businessman Rajendra Bandal at Bavdhan-NDA Road. Bandal is suspected to have been targeted by Amit Dagde, who had lost an election in Mulkhed village near Bavdhan in 2012, after Bandal fielded a candidate against him.

The anti-extortion Cell
The suspects will be produced in court today. Pic/Mohan Patil

Police have identified the suspects as Amit Dagde (27), Mahesh Pawar (19), Manish More (25), Vishal Bhunde (19) and Nilesh Dagde (23), all from Bavdhan, and Rajendra Shinde (35) from Bhor.

“They were arrested on Monday afternoon and will be produced in court on Tuesday,” a police officer said. A pistol, two live cartridges and two mobile phones have been recovered from the possession of the suspects.

Police Inspector (PI) Anil Patil, in-charge of AEC, said, “Amit Dagde was contesting the gram panchayat election as an independent candidate in 2012. He was in a position to win, but Bandal fielded another candidate against him, due to which Dagde lost. Since then, he planned to kill Bandal. Some 15 days ago, Amit had even laid a trap to target Bandal but that attempt failed.”

“Dagde and Rajendra Shinde got acquainted during a land dealing. Shinde has a murder case registered against him. He took help of other suspects and hatched the conspiracy to murder Bandal at Bavdhan,” PI Patil said.

Manish More and Mahesh Pawar were following Bandal and were giving information about his movements to Vishal Bhunde and Rajendra Shinde, who were on a bike. Bhunde was riding while Shinde had the firearm. When the duo got close to Bandal, Shinde opened fire. After the first round, the firearm got locked and the duo fled. They later escaped to Katraj in Amit Dagde’s car,” Patil stated.

He added, “The suspects had done a recce a day before the firing. They had procured three SIM cards. Investigation has revealed that Rajendra Dagde, a suspect who is absconding, had provided the firearm to Rajendra Shinde. We are looking for him.” Bandal and his 10-year-old son were returning to their car from a shop on June 12, when the suspects opened fire.