Ghatkopar murder: Accused claims diamond merchant killed by a cake
With monetary and women angles doing the rounds in the Ghatkopar jeweller murder case, suspect says that a juvenile stunt led to a scuffle in which Rajeshwar Udani was killed; second autopsy confirms broken nasal bone
Of all the theories about why Ghatkopar jeweller Rajeshwar Udani was murdered, this one takes the cake. Pant Nagar police sources said that one of the accused claimed that he killed the businessman by accident, and that the murder weapon was cake, of all things. The police have also found evidence indicating that BJP member Sachin Pawar, former personal assistant to former state cabinet minister Prakash Mehta, was part of the murder conspiracy.
The Pant Nagar Police yesterday presented BJP's Sachin Pawar in court, and were granted his custody till Friday. The cops may not be able to prove that Ghatkopar jeweller Rajeshwar Udani was killed at Sachin's hands, but they have found that he gave instructions to make a fake number plate for what may be the murder vehicle.
The other accused, Dinesh Pawar, a constable with the Local Arms Unit, is already in the Pant Nagar police's custody in connection with a rape case, so the cops did not produce him in court.
Cops escort Sachin Pawar to court on Sunday
Murder by cake
There are quite a few theories floating around about the murder motive. One theory is that it may have been triggered by a fight over a female friend of Sachin's. Another possibility is that there may have been some financial dispute between the two. The case's investigating officer told the court that Sachin and the victim knew each other, and they had phone records that indicated some pending dues between the two.
But the third theory is the wildest — Pant Nagar police sources said Dinesh claimed that he had killed the victim, Rajeshwar, by mistake. Sources said Dinesh brought a cake and forced it on Rajeshwar's face, injuring the businessman's nose and angering him. Cake entered the victim's nose, because of which he was unable to breathe. Rajeshwar, 57, died in the ensuing scuffle. Soon after, Dinesh contacted Sachin, and they allegedly planned how to dispose his body. On Sunday, the police also called the cake shop employee for questioning.
Whatever the motive was, the Pant Nagar police have found evidence that indicates Sachin was involved in the conspiracy. The investigating officer told the court that they had found a car, a white i10, that may have been used in the crime. It bore a false registration number of 1111.
How they called it
Upon investigating Sachin's call detail records (CDR), the officers found that he had given instructions to make the fake number plate for the car. This is how they were able to support their allegations that Sachin was part of the murder conspiracy. For now, forensic experts have collected samples from the vehicle for analysis.
According to sources, the cops learnt that the bogus number plate was made by Sahil Shaikh, 20, college student and employee at a workshop named Reliable Number Plate. He was called for questioning over the course of two days.
His brother, Riyaz Khan, told mid-day, "My brother is innocent. A man came to the garage asking for a number plate. When my brother asked to see the vehicle, he said he was Sachin Pawar's man. Then Sachin told my brother over the phone to make the number plate. Sachin is well known in the locality, so my brother made the number plate."
The garage owner, Mohammad Farhan Khan, added, "Sahil has worked here for a long time and I have never heard any complaints about him before. The man who came for the number plate did not even pay us."
However, Sachin's advocate, Vaibhav Jagtap, argued in court, "The accused was not at the crime scene and CDR may reveal that. Moreover, it is not the prosecution's case that he was present there. Sachin was merely picked up because he had instructed to make a number plate. Apart from this, the police has nothing concrete against him. The police have not yet established his role in the offence." Cops carried out a search at the house of actor Debolina Bhattacharya, whom they had also questioned earlier. They have called her for questioning again on Monday.
Cause of death
The second autopsy conducted on Saturday night revealed: "Evidence of nasal bone fracture with fracture of hyoid bone [aka tongue bone] suggestive of death due to asphyxia by smothering with manual strangulation."
"The body had decomposed badly, which made it a challenge, but the autopsy revealed that he was strangulated, among other injuries in his body. He was beaten up before being strangulated. His nasal bone was also broken," said a senior forensic expert.
Input by Rupsa Chakraborty
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