Seven people arrested for killing Shiv Sena leader over 'personal rivalry'

May 09, 2018, 17:35 IST | Samiullah Khan

However, one culprit remains absconding

Main accused Brija Nathuram Patel
Main accused Brija Nathuram Patel

Almost two weeks after two bike-borne assailants shot dead Shiv Sena leader Sachin Sawant at Kranti Nagar, the Kurar police have arrested seven - six from UP and one from Kandivli. However, one culprit remains absconding. Cops believe personal rivalry was the motive behind the crime. After being produced in a local court yesterday, the accused were sent to police custody till May 14.

The accused have been identified as Lokesh Singh, 25, Abhay alias Barkya Kisan Salunkhe Patil, 26, Satyendra alias Sonu Ramji Pal, 24, Nilesh Sharma, 27, Brijesh alias Brija Patel, 36, Amit Singh, 25 and Brijesh Singh, 28. Umesh Sahani is at large.

Two failed attempts
Police sources said interrogation revealed that Patel and Sharma had planned the crime. With help from Brijesh and Pal, they hired the shooters - Lokesh and Abhay. While handing over the contract to the shooters, Brijesh had given them Rs 3 lakh and promised another R7 lakh and flats in Vasai or Nalasopara after the work. Two weeks prior to the crime, the eight met twice at Appa Pada in Kurar to discuss the plan. Sources revealed they failed to execute the plan twice, and finally on April 22, they succeeded.

The police said Sharma, Brijesh and Amit have a number of cases against them. They added that the accused had fired six rounds from two pistols used in the crime, of which one bullet hit Sawant and another injured Shashikant Vishwakarma, who was travelling with him. Soon after committing the crime, all of them escaped to Uttar Pradesh, where Amit stays, apart from Brijesh and Sharma.

Investigation revealed that Sawant's efforts to redevelop a slum in the area were being opposed by Brijesh and Sharma. They often used to get into arguments and fights over this. When the builder tried to settle the matter, Sawant had a heated argument with him.

Bigger conspiracy?
Even though the police believe the motive was personal rivalry, Sawant's son Omkar Sawant said, "We suspect that the murder is the result of a bigger conspiracy. The matter should be investigated thoroughly."

However, Rajesh Pradhan, additional commissioner of police, said, "The Kurar police have done a remarkable job in solving the case. The probe indicates that personal rivalry was the reason behind the murder. However, we will investigate the matter further."

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