Alleged serial killer Vijay Palande has sent a letter to the police commissioner claiming that his swanky Skoda has been ‘illegally’ seized by Crime Branch officials and is being used by Senior Inspector Deepak Phatangre. Palande is accused of murdering Arunkumar Tikku, father of actor Anuj Tikku, and businessman Karan Kakkad.
As per the letter, a copy of which is available with MiD DAY, Palande was a ‘regular fixture’ at the Crime Branch Unit VIII office, where he would provide sundry information related to a number of cases, as he was a police informant. Palande used to visit the office in his Skoda Fabia with the number plate MH-12-FF-8319.
Speaking to MiD DAY, his lawyer KM Mhatre said, “We are unable to recover the car via an application for return of property, as the car has not been officially shown as seized.” According to Mhatre, though the police claim that Palande helped them with investigations in Karad shortly before his alleged escape, he was in fact at the Unit VIII office throughout the night between April 9 and April 10 last year.
The letter sent through Mhatre, reads, “My client has instructed me to make an application for return of property as per the provisions of the CrPC before the appropriate court. However on inquiry it came to our knowledge that the vehicle is lying in the custody of DCB CID Unit VIII and it is not seized as per the provisions of the CrPC. Nor is it reflected as seized by the office of the DCB CID Unit VIII in any of the chargesheets.”
So far, police have filed chargesheets against Palande in the Karan Kakkad and Arun Tiku murders. The letter goes on to urge an inquiry into the ‘illegal seizure’ of the car, and its use by Phatangre. “The keys of the vehicle are in the custody of [Phatangre] and the car is lying in the premises of the said unit. My client is being falsely implicated in a case on the allegation that he fled from the office of Unit VIII, but the illegal seizure of the vehicle shows the contrary,” the letter added.
The other side
When contacted, Senior PI Deepak Phatangre of Unit VIII Crime Branch denied the allegations and said, “If it’s his car, he should come and take it. We have government cars to use, why would we take his? There is currently no such car with Unit VIII.” Despite repeated attempts, Mumbai police commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh remained unavailable for comment.