RTI activist killed in his house, cops suspect vendetta
Police said deceased was a BJP worker who exposed illegal construction undertaken by the accused, a Cong worker; kin suspect ex-Shiv Sena corporator masterminded crime
A 53-year-old RTI activist from Bhandup’s Tembipada area was allegedly stabbed to death by a Congress worker in his house on Monday morning, sources in the police department said.
The victim, Vasant Motilal Patil, who lived in Ram Nagar, had filed several RTI applications against the illegal construction of the accused, Baban Khopade, who lives in a nearby chawl. The RTI documents led to the BMC taking action against Khopade, infuriating him, said the sources.
The police said Patil was a BJP worker and had filed several RTIs against corrupt people and corporators.
Sunil Joshi, another RTI activist from the area, said, “Suresh Shinde, ex-corporator from Shiv Sena in Tembipada, was put behind bars after Patil allegedly exposed a scam in which Shinde had forged documents and grabbed an acre of land in Tembipada.”
Similarly, Patil had unearthed the wrongdoings of Khopade, who had constructed additional floors illegally at his chawl. “They had a fight last night and around 7 in the morning, Khopade stabbed Patil to death when his wife had gone to the public toilet,” said senior inspector Shrirang Nadgauda of Bhandup police station.
After killing Patil, Khopade surrendered himself at the police station. “We don’t think Khopade is the mastermind. The main suspect is Shinde, as his case is up for hearing in court on August 18 and we believe he might be behind the killing,” said Joshi.
“Shinde had been threatening my husband and I am sure he has killed him, as my husband used to file RTI pleas against him,” said Patil’s wife Maya.
The police suspect more people are involved in the murder, but Khopade has not revealed any names yet.
Sena’s Shinde, meanwhile, said, “I was a corporator for 15 years. Police have caught hold of the main accused and I’m sure they’ll give justice to Patil. My opponents will always embroil my name in everything wrong to spoil the chances of my candidature.”