The body of Satish Vasawa, the newly-elected sarpanch of Andada village in Bharuch district, who went missing from April 12, was found on Thursday at an agricultural field in the neighbouring Amratpura village. Police have arrested his friend and booked three others, including a gram panchayat member, in connection with the murder.
According to Ankleshwar police, the sarpanch was murdered for refusing to sign a document converting an agricultural land into a non-agricultural one.
Satish, 35, had left his home with his friend, Narendra Wala, on the evening of April 12.
The sarpanch told his wife Usha that he was going to Khodiyar Mata temple in the neighbouring Panoli village and would return soon. Satish, however, did not return till late in the night. Later, when his wife and other family members went to Narendra’s home, he told them that Satish had left him at Chautabazaar area of the village for some work.
Subsequently, a missing complaint was filed with Ankleshwar police. The next day, Narendra also went missing.
Meanwhile, the villagers observed a bandh in the village on April 18 and handed over a memorandum to sub-divisional magistrate in Ankleshwar.
Acting on a tip off, Ankleshwar police picked up Narendra from Ambaji and interrogated him. Police said initially Narendra told them that he had left Satish at Chautabazaar after prayers at Khodiar Mata temple. But, when police questioned the shopkeepers in the area and also checked CCTV footage, they could not find Satish or Narendra. Upon further interrogation, Narendra allegedly confessed to his involvement in the conspiracy and murder of Satish. He also claimed involvement of three others — Krunal Parmar (gram panchayat member and former deputy sarpanch of Andada village), Anil Vasawa and Nilesh Praveenbhai — in the crime, police said, adding a manhunt was launched to nab the three accused.
Police said Krunal had made some land deal with a party for which he wanted the document of non-agricultural land, signed by the Andada sarpanch. Satish, however, refused to sign the papers, police said.
This led Krunal to hatch a plan, for which he also roped in three others, including Narendra, police said.
Police said that Narendra took Satish to Khodiyar Mata temple where Krunal and other accused were waiting.
The accused took Satish in a car and drove him to an agricultural field in the neighbouring Amratpura village, where they hit him on his head with an iron rod, killing him, investigators said, adding that they then buried his body in the field.
Ankleshwar police on Thursday took Narendra to identify the spot where they had buried him and found his body. The body was later sent to government hospital for a post-mortem. The family members of Satish also reached the hospital and identified the body of Satish.
The deceased’s brother, Dipak, had lodged a complaint of murder in this connection against the accused with the Ankleshwar police.
Deputy Superintendent of Police A K Vanani said, “The motive behind the murder is clear that Krunal wanted the village sarpanch to sign a land document of non-agricultural land but he refused and this led Krunal and others to kill him. We are probing the case further to get more details. We will arrest the other accused in the coming days. ”