Three held in Avinash Solanki murder case

Business associate, his driver held from Lucknow, third from Nalasopara

Mumbai: Three people were arrested on Sunday in connection with the murder of Avinash Solanki, a key witness in the 2011 murder of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes.

Solanki, also known as Avinash Bali, was found murdered in Andheri on August 20 this year.

Those arrested include Solanki’s business associate Nilesh Ravindra Shukla (38), who the police said killed him, and Mr. Shukla’s bodyguard Ankit Arun Dubey (19) and driver Vanshbahadur Chandraprakash Singh (48), who allegedly helped destroy evidence.

The MIDC police, working on a tip-off, arrested Mr. Shukla and Mr. Singh from Gomti Nagar in Lucknow, where they had fled to after the murder. Mr. Dubey was picked up from his home in Nalasopara. The police said Mr. Shukla had asked Mr. Dubey to dispose of a bag with certain items that could implicate him in the murder. While the police did not to divulge the contents of the bag, they confirmed that Solanki’s mobile phone is yet to be recovered.

“The exact motive behind the murder is unknown. But the accused on questioning said the murder was the result of an alcohol-fuelled argument. It wasn’t a premeditated act. There might have been financial or personal differences,” Navinchandra Reddy, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone X), said.

Solanki’s body was found in Mr. Shukla’s office at 2.15 a.m. on August 20. The air-conditioner in the premises had been deliberately left on to delay the decomposition of the body. Solanki and Mr. Shukla had consumed alcohol before the argument broke out, the police said. Mr. Singh had kept watch outside, while Mr. Dubey was downstairs.

The MIDC police have charged Mr. Shukla with murder under Section 302 and causing destruction of evidence under Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code. Mr. Singh and Mr. Dubey have been charged with helping Mr. Shukla abscond and destroying evidence.

The police said Mr. Shukla had earlier been arrested under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act following a tip-off from Solanki. The two, however, soon became friends and Solanki also helped Mr. Shukla undergo rehabilitation for drug abuse.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 2:56:11 PM |

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