Pune: Main Accused in Pimpri Chinchwad’s ‘Drishyam’ Style Murder Case Arrested After Month-Long Evasion

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Varad Bhatkhande

Pimpri Chinchwad, 25th April 2024: The case, in which the Pimpri Chinchwad police made two arrests on March 23 regarding the young man’s rage, which led to the abduction and murder of an 18-year-old, and subsequent “Drishyam”-like cover-up that failed, along with an open public shooting at a hotel in Rase Phata, has now resulted in the apprehension of the main culprit and mastermind by the Anti-Gunda Squad of the Pimpri Chinchwad Police.

The main accused in this case has been identified as Rahul Pawar (age 34, resident of Mahalunge Ingale, Khed), who was arrested by the Anti-Gunda Squad of Pimpri Chinchwad Police on Monday (22nd April) in Aundh. He had been deceiving the police for a month, but they arrested him, and the court has remanded him in police custody until May 4th, 2024.

What did Rahul Pawar do?
Rahul Pawar, along with Ajay Gaikwad and Amar Shinde, first opened fire at Swapnil, also known as Sopya Sanjay Shinde, the owner of Maratha Hotel in Rase Phata of Khed Taluka on 18th March. Regarding this, a case was registered at Chakan Police Station under various sections of IPC, the Arms Act of 1959 and the Maharashtra Police Act of 1951. At that time, police detained Gaikwad and Shinde, but Pawar was on the run.

Subsequent police interrogation and investigation revealed that on 16th March, Pawar, Gaikwad, and Shinde kidnapped and murdered an 18-year-old boy named Aditya Bhangare. They kidnapped him, assaulted him, and strangled him with a wire, resulting in his death. The accused attempted to erase evidence of Bhangare’s murder by deceiving the police, claiming they had staged an isolated fire at Nimgaon in Khed Taluka. However, CCTV footage and police observations at Nimgaon revealed no human body was burned there. Further interrogation revealed they had burned Bhangare’s body in Valsad District, Gujarat, on the Maharashtra border. DNA testing confirmed the identification. Although police arrested Gaikwad and Shinde, Pawar remained at large. Regarding this case, a complaint was lodged at Mahalunge Police Station, and charges were filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

How did Rahul Pawar evade arrest?
After the DNA test confirmed Bhangare’s identity, the Pimpri Chinchwad Police began an intensive search for Pawar. Through research, it was revealed that Pawar had 7 crime cases registered against him for violent physical assaults since 2013. Pawar was adept at evading arrests. He stopped using his phone and cut his hair, beard, and moustache to change his appearance. To locate him, the police monitored 67 individuals with whom Pawar had connections and interrogated them. Eventually, it was discovered that he was still in the Pune district, as he was captured in 124 CCTV footage clips from various locations such as Nashik Phata, Kasarwadi, and Pune City. On April 22nd, a source informed the Anti-Gunda Squad officials that Pawar was in the Aundh area. Acting on this information, the police set up a trap, and when Pawar arrived in a rickshaw, they surrounded and arrested him. He had changed his identification to Sagar Sanjay More, claiming to be a resident of Alandi and lied to the police. However, upon deeper investigation, it was revealed that he was indeed Pawar.

The operation was conducted under the guidance of Pimpri Chinchwad Commissioner of Police Vinay Kumar Choubey, Additional Commissioner of Police Vasant Pardeshi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Doifode, and Assistant Commissioner of Police Dr Vishal Hire. The Anti-Gunda Squad was led by Police Inspector HV Mane, with Sub-Inspectors of Police Ashok Jagtap and Hajrat Pathan, along with police personnel Pravin Tapkir, Sopan Thokal, Vikram Jagdale, Gangaram Chavan, Ganesh Medge, Vijay Gambhire, Sunil Choudhary, Mayur Dalvi, Nitin Gengje, Sham Baba, Vijay Telewar, Shubham Kadam, Ramdas Mohite, Dnyaneshwar Giri, and Tausif Shaikh, in addition to Nagesh Mali and Popat Hulge of TAW.

Why did Rahul Pawar commit this crime?
Aditya Bhangare, along with his six friends, had murdered Rahul Pawar’s brother, Ritesh Pawar. A case was registered at Mahalunge Police Station under various sections of the IPC and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 concerning this incident. The accused are now arrested and in judicial custody at Yerawada Central Jail, but before Rahul Pawar committed his crime, they were not. Bhangare shared and liked a controversial post regarding Ritesh’s death on Instagram, which triggered Rahul’s existing revenge mentality. That’s why he went on to kidnap and murder Bhangare and shoot Swapnil Shinde at the hotel in Rase Phata.