Investigations into the murder of Borivli-based jeweller Nitin Dhakan have led cops to stumble upon a serial killer. While a third victim has been discovered, grieving relatives believe that many more murders masterminded and executed by the killer wait to be unearthed.
Two days ago, it was reported that while investigating Gopal Pandey (45), the main accused in Dhakan’s April murder, cops had cracked another murder committed in 2010 – that of loan agent Sanjay Chavan (‘Accused in Borivli case confesses to 2010 murder’, June 25, MiD DAY).
Yesterday, it was learnt that Pandey was responsible for yet another murder. Cops revealed that in 2008, Pandey, who hails from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, allegedly murdered his close friend Vijay Dubey (30).
After moving to Dahisar several years ago, Pandey befriended Dubey. While Dubey became an estate agent, Pandey began shaping a career in real estate – and crime. He soon gained notoriety as a local goon, and was involved in petty cheating cases.
Significantly, Pandey used the same chilling modus operandi on all his victims. He kidnapped Dubey with the help of two accomplices and then murdered him in a car. Pandey then purchased petrol from a filling station on the outskirts of Thane. “Dubey was then taken to a graveyard deep in the jungles of Manor, off the NH8 Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway,” said a policeman. The body was then doused in petrol and set on fire. This is exactly the way he pulled off the murders of Chavan and Dhakan in 2010 and 2012 respectively.
“Pandey is arrogant and egotistical, and murdered Dubey over a property dispute. After confessing to having murdered two persons, he told us about Dubey’s murder. He had threatened Dubey’s brother that he too would be killed, if he went to the police. Scared, Dubey’s brother never sought police help,” said a policeman.
On Wednesday, a police team escorted Pandey to the location where Dubey had been killed. DCP (Zone XII) Mahesh Patil said, “Pandey was involved in a third murder. We sent a team to the spot. Apart from the three murder cases till date, Pandey is also a suspect in the missing person’s case of a Kandivli resident.”
Set murderer on fire, says victim’s kin
Speaking exclusively to MiD DAY, Chavan’s wife Supriya said, “Pandey should be doused with petrol and set on fire, just like my husband was killed by him.
A week before my husband was murdered, he confided, ‘I am afraid of Pandey. He is demanding two cars and threatening to kill me.’ He was always anxious and worried.”
Supriya added, “We approached the police several times and told them Pandey was involved, but they ignored us. The police only acted fast to solve Dhakan’s murder because he was a wealthy businessman. There are many other goons like Pandey who are still roaming free. We have no faith in the police.
We would like a CBI inquiry in the case.” Chavan’s family once lived in a plush flat in Borivli, but has now been compelled to move out owing to financial troubles after the murder. Sonali, Chavan’s daughter, was pursuing her MBBS degree, but had to abandon her studies halfway. Their other daughter Prateeksha (18) now does odd jobs to make ends meet.
Dhakan’s elder brother said, “What you have heard is only the tip of the iceberg. Since I am communicating with cops on a daily basis, I know that he is involved in many more cases.”
According to cops, Dhakan and Pandey were involved in a property deal. On April 26, the two had a heated argument, following which Dhakan called off the deal. Pandey and the other accused then used Dhakan’s car to kidnap him, drove him to the jungles of Manor on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway, where they thrashed Dhakan to death.
Sanjay Chavan, who was a loan agent from Shimpoli in Borivli, went missing on March 11, 2010. Pandey has confessed that on March 12, 2010, he and his accomplice killed Chavan, who was insisting that Pandey return the loan of Rs 8 lakh he had taken to buy a car. Pandey started threatening Chavan, asking him for two more cars.
Partners in crime
Pandey has also revealed the names of his accomplices in Dhakan’s murder case — Brajesh Mishra (33), Abhijit Bhosale (24), Birbal Singh (37), Haroon Sheikh (35), and Sachin Chorge (28). For Chavan’s murder, he allegedly roped in Afzal Shaik (34), Azad alias Ajay Chaudhary (28) and Shashikant alias Rajan Yadav (30). More arrests are likely, following further investigations of the third murder case.