Mumbai

Four from Ratnagiri arrested for killing Ghatkopar man

Victim failed to procure red sand boa after taking ₹21 lakh

The Ghatkopar police have arrested four people from Ratnagiri for allegedly murdering a Mumbai resident and disposing of his body in their native place over a monetary dispute last month.

Missing since June

According to the police, investigations were first launched into the matter after Savitri Pal (38), a resident of Ashoknagar in Ghatkopar, registered a complaint saying her husband, Udaybhan (47), had left for Karad in Satara district on June 17 saying he was going to take care of some work. However, he never returned.

“We obtained his call detail record (CDR) and got in touch with the people that he had last been in contact with. Inquiries with several of these people indicated that he was involved in illegal wildlife trade,” an officer with the Ghatkopar police said.

The officer said that using the same CDR, the investigating team tracked his movements to Koynanagar near Karad.

“We obtained registration details of the phone numbers that Pal was in touch with just before his cell phone got switched off, and this led us to Pradeep Surve, a resident of Malkapur village in Karad. He was picked up for inquiries, after which the entire plot unravelled,” the officer said.

According to police sources, Pal had taken over ₹21 lakh from Mr. Surve, promising to obtain a red sand boa, an endangered species of snake, for him. The red sand boa is in high demand in India as it is believed to lead its owner to hidden treasure, according to popular superstition. When, despite several months having passed after him paying the money, there was no sign of the red sand boa, Mr. Surve suspected he was being taken for a ride and hatched the murder plot.

Body thrown in ghat

The police said Mr. Surve called Pal to meet him near Karad on June 18 and lay in wait for him near a stream in Koynanagar along with his friends Vinod Shudrik, Suresh Sonawane and Akshay Avghade. As soon as Pal showed up, the quartet allegedly bludgeoned him to death. They later disposed of his body in the Kumbharli Ghat on the Karad-Chiplun Road with the help of another accomplice, identified as Kaleem Qureshi, police said.

“We then visited the Alore Shirgaon police station in Ratnagiri and found out that they had indeed found a body in the ghat on July 25. The body was identified with Ms. Pal’s help, and we placed Mr. Surve, Mr. Shudrik, Mr. Sonawane and Mr. Avghade under arrest,” the officer said.

The four of them were brought to Mumbai on Monday and charged with murder and attempted destruction of evidence under the Indian Penal Code. The police are now on the lookout for Mr. Qureshi.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 12:48:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/four-from-ratnagiri-arrested-for-killing-ghatkopar-man/article28840482.ece

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