Mumbai Crime: Actor axes pujari over failed property deal
Kapil Shrivastava wanted to teach priest Rashi Maharaj 'a lesson' for finding an offer for Nalasopara house too cheap
In what might be a dramatic chase scene out of a movie, a producer-actor and his accomplice, accused of assaulting a pujari, were chased by Mumbai police to Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, and hauled back to the city.
The pujari, the brother of a Babulnath Temple priest, is grievously hurt and is in unconscious state at CritiCare Hospital, Andheri. Actor Kapil Shrivastava, who has worked on some TV serials and web series, and his accomplice Ashish Tamrakar, covered their faces with a towel and helmet, and attacked Ram Shiromani Dubey alias Rashi Maharaj with an axe near the Andheri RTO for calling off a property deal.
Dubey, a resident of Nalasopara was returning from a temple in Laxmi Estate of Suresh Nagar, Andheri at 9pm on November 14 when two motorcycle-borne men accosted him. "The pillion rider, Shrivastava, got down and assaulted Rashi Maharaj, who was on foot. The rider was standing a few metres away. Hearing Rashi Maharaj's screams for help, several onlookers gathered and chased the assaulter, who managed to flee. The rider too fled," an officer told mid-day.
One of the onlookers informed the police control room and a team from Amboli police station rushed to the spot. The probe team also recovered Rashi Maharaj's mobile from the spot. "My brother is well-known in Lokhandwala. A well-wisher told me about the incident. When I called my brother's phone, an officer picked up and asked me to rush to the hospital," said Rashi Maharaj's younger brother, Ashok Dubey.
Cops zeroed in on a mobile number from Rashi Maharaj's Call Data Records (CDR) and traced it. "This mobile number's location at the time of the incident was near the crime scene, but it was constantly changing. Shrivastava kept switching his mode of transport while on his way to MP," said the officer. The mobile number brought the police to Shrivastava and Tamrakar in Jabalpur. The duo, booked for attempt to murder, was produced before a metropolitan magistrate's court last week, which remanded it to police custody till November 25.
The duo's interrogation revealed that Rashi Maharaj wanted to sell a Nalasopara property he bought with the help of a loan, which he was unable to repay. While Shrivastava, a friend of the priest's wife, showed interest, the money he offered was too less as per Rashi Maharaj. "Initially, the pujari had agreed to sell the property but backtracked later. This riled Shrivastava who wanted to teach him a lesson," the officer said. "He purchased the axe from Malad and used a friend's motorbike. He wanted to kill the pujari for calling off the deal. We are also looking for the towels which are crucial evidence," the officer added.
"I have learnt that his father is a retired DIG in Madhya Pradesh," said Ashok, who claimed that his brother is very well-known in the film industry. The condition of pujari is said to be critical. "He was initially rushed to Cooper Hospital and then to Nanavati. On November 20, he was moved to CritiCare Hospital. He has not regained consciousness since November 14 and doctors say he still isn't out of the woods," Ashok said.
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