THE peculiar discovery of a bloodstained rubber mat from a two-wheeler and a pair of footwear hanging oddly on a tree in an abandoned quarry led Pune police to unravel a murder of a 57-year-old warehouse owner, which had initially been staged as an accident. The probe revealed that the murder was linked to a financial dispute.
On October 30, the control room of Pune City police received a call from locals in Lohegaon area after a dead body was found in an abandoned quarry. At the spot, the police team found an elderly man lying next to a scooter. A probe was launched by Lonikand police.
The deceased had multiple injuries on his body. While no ID was found, police identified the deceased as Bajirao Sudam Khandve, a resident of Harantal Vasti in Lohegaon, from his scooter’s registration number .
Investigation revealed on October 29, the day before the body was found, a missing complaint regarding Khandve was registered by his family at Vimantal police station. “While a cursory glance suggested a case of accident with the bike falling or skidding into the quarry, many clues suggested otherwise. We found a rubber mat of a two-wheeler and footwear —both bloodstained —hanging oddly on a 15ft-high babul tree in the quarry. The mat was from the Khandve’s two-wheeler and the footwear also belonged to him. Had it been a case of accident, how would the mat and footwear land on a tree, that too with blood stains?” an officer said.
“The probe further suggested that the scratch marks on the bike were inconsistent with the way it would have been in an accident. Initial probe pointed that the man died somewhere else and the body was dumped in the quarry to make it look like an accident,” said the officer. The findings of the autopsy further revealed that the injuries were not due to a vehicular accident but rather Khandve died of injuries inflicted by a blunt metal object like a metal rod.
The police team found that Khandve had rented his godown to Nagesh Naik, who was using it as a manufacturing unit for ‘farsan’ (fried snacks), but Naik and four people working for him were nowhere to be found.
Investigation of the call records of Naik, Khandve and people working for Naik traced all of them to the godown two days prior to the discovery of the body, said the officer.
On further probe, police identified one more suspect in the case—Laxman Narayan Imnelu (38)—and placed him under arrest on November 3 from the Lohegaon area. Investigation revealed that Naik owed Khandve a large sum of money. On October 28, when Khandve went to his godown to ask for the money, he was brutally beaten to death with metal rods by Naik, Imnelu and four others.
They then carried Khandve’s body and bike in a tempo and dumped it in the quarry. “Probe suggests that they threw the scooters rubber mat and Khandve’s footwear into the quarry later, whereupon the two blood-stained objects landed on a tree,” said the police officer.
The investigation has been handed to Vimantal police station, under whose jurisdiction the godown is located. An officer said that they have started looking for main accused Naik and four other suspects.