A Sessions court Friday sentenced six persons to life imprisonment in a 2008 murder case. The six had killed Kumar Dangat, 27, a cable operator from Dehu Road area, over an alleged love affair between Kumar’s brother Sachin and accused Rahim Shaikh’s sister Shabnam.
The case had turned murkier with the rival group allegedly killing Rahim’s father Ismail Shaikh and an acquaintance, Rahul Nair. Nair was killed on the Shivajinagar court premises after trial in Kumar’s murder started.
Additional Sessions Judge S D Darane had convicted Rahim Shaikh (30), a resident of Srikrishna Nagar (Dehu Road), and five others — Babu Durai (25) of Gandhinagar (Dehu Road) Yallappa Ahivale (29) of Nehru Nagar (Pimpri), Raghvendra alias Nagendra Naik (35) of Gandhinagar (Dehu Road), Dnanyeshwar Potale (32) of Thomas Colony (Dehu Road) and Santosh Thorat (25) of M D Camp (Dehu Road).
According to the prosecution, Sachin Dangat, brother of the deceased and resident of Vikasnagar (Dehu Road), allegedly had an affair with Shabnam Shaikh, sister of Rahim Shaikh.
“Even though Shabnam got married to another man, their love affair continued. Rahim had threatened Sachin with dire consequences if he did not discontinue the relationship. Rahim believed that Kumar was supporting his brother,” said advocate Raman Aggarwal, the special public prosecutor appointed by the state government given the sensitive nature of the case.
On the morning of August 27, 2008, Kumar was going somewhere with cousin Sukhadev when he was attacked by the six accused near Hotel Savera in Kiwale village on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway, where the two had stopped for breakfast around 9.30 am. Rahim shot Kumar from a pistol while Durai fired at him from a revolver. Other suspects too attacked Kumar with sharp weapons. He died on the spot. All six accused were convicted under Sections 302, 149, 120 B and 148 of the Indian Penal code. Shaikh and Durai were also convicted under the Arms Act for illegal possession and use of the firearms.
In an alleged revenge attack, a group murdered Rahim’s father Ismail Shaikh on September 21, 2008. After the case went to trial, Rahul Nair (25), Rahim’s friend who had come to the court, was hacked to death, allegedly by Kumar’s supporters, on May 6, 2010.
As the court was scheduled to pronounce the quantum of punishment on Friday, the Pune rural police had deployed force in the Dehu Road region, where the families of the six convicts and the deceased reside, given the history of violence. The police said three senior officers and nearly 40 constables were deployed in the areas since morning. “We had kept a strong vigil and deployed enough staff so that nothing untoward happens. In the light of the two murders and other incidents of violence that had happened in the past, we did not want to take any chance,” said the Dehu Road police station in-charge.
Security was stepped up on the Shivajinagar court premises too. Only a few close relatives were allowed to attend the hearing. All routine staff were deployed at the gates and near the remand room and every entrant to the court was thoroughly searched. Meanwhile, separate trials are on in the Ismail Shaikh and Rahul Nair murder cases.