The Pune police on Wednesday said that seven members of an Ahmednagar family, including three minors, whose bodies were recently fished out of the Bhima river in Pune’s Daund taluk, were murdered by their own relatives.
Between January 18 and 22, the bodies of Mohan Uttam Pawar (45), his wife Sangita (40), both natives of Khamgaon village in Georai taluka of Beed district; their daughter Rani (24), son-in-law Shamrao Phulware (28), and their children Ritesh (7), Chotu (5) and Krushna (3), hailing from Washi taluk in Osmanabad district, were recovered from the Bhima river in Daund.
Since the past year, the deceased had been residing in Nighoj village in Ahmednagar’s Parner taluk, eking out a living as labourers.
The Pune police today arrested five persons, all siblings, who are said to be the deceased Mohan Pawar’s cousins. They were arrested under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 302 (murder), 120 (b) (party to a criminal conspiracy) and 506 (criminal intimidation), among other relevant sections.
Initial investigation has ascribed the murders to a family feud. Earlier, a police statement had said that according to the post mortem report, the cause of death of the deceased had been drowning, with no injuries found on them.
“The accused have been identified as Ashok Kalyan Pawar and his brothers Shyam, Shankar and Prakash, and their sister Kantabai Sarjerao Jadhav. All of them are residents of Nighoj in Parner taluk in Ahmednagar district. They will be produced in court today and we will ask for their police interrogation, after which we can ascertain further details,” Ankit Goyal, Superintendent of Pune Rural Police said, adding that the probe was still in a preliminary stage.
Mr. Goyal said that Ashok Pawar and his siblings had been angry with the deceased for being responsible for the death of Ashok’s son, Dhananjay.
“He [Dhananjay Pawar] had died a few months ago. We had registered his death as an accident. However, Ashok and his kin harboured suspicions that the deceased that caused Dhananjay’s death…We are investigating whether there was any further motive. The modus operandi of the accused would be established after we interrogate them,” Mr. Goyal said.