The Murder of Parshuram alias Parsha alias Aba Pandurang Jadhav (39), has brought to fore gangsters getting attracted to land deals in Pune. The police fear more “gang wars”, with several gang leaders out on bail. Police sources say gangsters are finding “close allies” in construction and politics and are trying for an image makeover.
Gangsters and land deals
Police said Jadhav from Kolhapur was named in extortion, kidnapping and murder cases earlier. He joined hands with gangster Baba Bodke with whom he fell out later. Jadhav had created a base in Dhankawadi area, police sources said. Investigations reveal that on June 19, he was murdered by about 10 persons, including Bala Choudhary associated with the Appa Londhe gang. When Jadhav reached the area with his driver and aide Sanjay More he was shot dead. “Choudhary is on the run. His six accomplices have been arrested,” said senior inspector M B Chavan of Bharati Vidyapeeth police station.
There have been other murders over land deals. On November 14, 2013, Kunal Pol (31), suspected to have links with a gang led by Gajanan Marne alias Maharaj, was attacked by about 15 persons near Swargate and shot dead. Investigations revealed Vishal Satpute alias Janglya as prime suspect.
Police said Pol was into land dealings involving Marne and was a friend of Janglya who separated after a dispute. Pol is believed to have enjoyed political support at the local level.
Police sources said all political parties have a nexus with some or the other gang leader. They said there the gangsters had links with the Mumbai underworld.
The fight for supremacy between gangs over land deals is turning out to be a worry for police. Deputy commissioner of police (Crime Branch) Jayant Naiknavre said, “We have detailed records of all criminal groups in the city. We take regular action against them. The main historysheeters are regularly detained and prohibitory action taken. We have two squads who keep close watch on movement of these groups. The reports that these groups are active are wrong. It is known that they are into different businesses now.”
Major gangsters on bail, some operate from jail
As per police records, “main gang leaders” like Gajanan Marne, Baba Bodke, Ganesh Marne, Rahul Taru, Ram Jagdale, Sachin Pote, Datta Mane, Appa Londhe, Rakesh Bharne, Bapu Nayar are out on bail and involved in real estate business. “The gangs have their areas of influence. Bodke is more known in Bhor, and Marne in Kothrud…,” an officer said. Among those in jail are gangster Sharad Mohol, a prime accused in the murder of alleged suspected IM operative Qateel Siddiqui. Gangsters Bapu Waghire and Nilesh Ghaiwal are also lodged in jail.
Police said after the murder of Sandeep Mohol allegedly by Ganesh Marne gang in October 2006, a major gang war had started in the city. There is rivalry between Sharad Mohol and Ganesh Marne gangs. He was linked to radical Hindu outfits and elected “unopposed” as deputy sarpanch of Mulshi, sitting in jail. Many members joined him. He is suspected to be giving them orders from jail.
Investigation into two incidents of cellphones being recovered from Yerawada Central Jail revealed that the phones were used to make calls from inside the jail to members of gangs. In September 2013, a cellphone was recovered from the backyard of Circle Number 3 inside the jail.
In the first week of May, a cellphone was recovered from high-security Anda Cell. The probe revealed calls were made to gang members of Sharad Mohol and Nilesh Ghaywal gang.
Meanwhile, in most cases against gangsters, investigation is not foolproof, due to which they get bail or are acquitted even after being charged under sections of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
Gangs into “social work”
Gangs with politcal patronage are recruiting services of gangsters to settle land litigations. Police said some builders use gangsters to remove “hurdles” in land deals.
A senior police officer with Pune rural police said, “The expanding urban space and subsequent growth of real estate brought in huge money. The money goes to criminal gangs who operate in these areas. Land acquisition for industries and business parks made local musclemen rich and they later became criminals.”
A senior police officer said Gajanan Marne alias Maharaj built such a network among senior politicians and builders. Booked in several serious crimes earlier, he was acquitted in some cases and got bail in others.
He is openly operating in the city and doing “social work” through Hamraj Mitra Mandal in Shastri Nagar, Kohturd. His wife Jayshree Marne is a corporator, having won the last civic elections on Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) ticket.
Police said supporters of some gangsters were booked for raising “illegal” flex banners in the city to wish their “masters” on different occasions. But now, police said gangsters have started placing advertisements in newspapers instead.
Easy flow of firearms
Police are worried over supply of firearms. A senior officer said major gangs can gather 10 to 15 firearms and shooters in a short span of time. However, gang leaders avoid carrying firearms themselves. “Most gang leaders move in convoys comprising four wheelers. But, the firearms are carried mainly by those on two wheelers,” an officer said.
Gangs are well connected to the illegal firearms dealers who bring pistols and revolvers and cartridges from north Indian states. But there have been instances where sophisticated firearms of foreign make were recovered from gangsters in Pune. Police have been able to recover many firearms. But cops have failed in cracking this illegal trade by reaching manufacturing units of illegal firearms. Police said even local groups have access to firearms. A rival gang opened fire on the house of Pravin Pasalkar, who is in jail, in Wadgaon Budruk.