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25-yr-old arrested for planning theft at friend's home

With a friend like Vinayak Gopal Dandu, who needs enemies? And Vinit Lakhate, a resident of Heramb Society, Borabhaat cross lane at Girgaum, discovered that the hard way. The VP Road police arrested 25-year-old Dandu for being the mastermind of a robbery worth Rs 61,000 at Lakhate’s home with the help of hired goons.

Vinayak Gopal Dandu
Not the best friend: Vinayak Gopal Dandu had hired the two goons to break into his friend’s home and steal belongings to be able to buy drugs. Pic/Milind Karekar

The crime
On Monday while Lakhate, an FYBSC student at Bhavan’s College, Chowpatty, was watching television with his friend Dandu, two people knocked on his door. As soon as Lakhate opened the door, two goons barged in and said, “You show off a lot at Bhavan’s College” and started assaulting him.

The duo then started searching the house for valuables and managed to get their hands on a gold chain and some valuable idols in the house. But before they made their getaway, they also attacked Dandu.

According to Sub-Inspector Milin Kate, VP Road police station, Dandu then asked Lakhate not to file a complaint saying that a complaint would mar their reputation. “It was only after Lakhate’s mother returned home from work in the evening that a complaint was registered,” said Raju Surve, sub-inspector at VP police station.

True intentions
When Kate started investigating the case, he realised that the accused had known that the victim was studying at Bhavan’s college and hence, he started suspecting an inside hand in the robbery. Kate also realised that it was Dandu who did not want to file a complaint making him a prime suspect. “We brought him in for questioning based on suspicions and when he started giving different answers, we knew that something was amiss,” said Kate.

During interrogations it was learnt that Dandu and Lakhate both used to smoke and consume drugs together. “Dandu had given a tip-off to Salman Pavaskar and Shahnawaz Nurani that he would visit Lakhate’s house on October 20 at 4 pm and if there was nobody he would call them,” said Kate.

According to the plan, Pavaskar and Nurani would break into the home and then make away with the valuables from the locker. However, the keys were with Lakhate’s mother and their plan fell flat. “Upset that their best laid plans had gone awry, they attacked their informant as they had to make do with lesser valuables. We have arrested Dandu and Nurani and are searching for Pavaskar who has fled,” said Kate.

Meanwhile, a shocked Lakhate said, “I believed Dandu to be my friend and took him into my house and all he did was cheat me.” 

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