A day after three people were killed in a fire that broke out in a temple at Charkhop area in Kandivali, the Mumbai Police on Monday arrested a 20-year-old man for murder. A minor was also detained, said police.
According to the police, the fire started at 4.14 am on Sunday when the three persons, identified as Subhash Khode (28), Yuvraj Pawar (28) and Mahesh Gupta (24), were asleep inside the Saibaba temple. The three could not escape and while Khode and Pawar were declared dead before admission, Gupta succumbed to his burn injuries on Sunday evening, said police.
Mumbai Fire Brigade officials managed to douse the fire by 4.39am.
Initially, fire officials had suspected that a short-circuit had led to the fire and an accidental death report was filed by the Charkop police on Sunday. However, the police later learnt that the fire had been lit with the purpose to harm one of the individuals inside the temple.
“We received inputs that someone had purposely set the temple on fire,” said an officer.
With the help of informants and CCTV footage, the police managed to track down the suspect and brought him in for questioning. During the interrogation, he confessed to the crime, said police. The accused was identified as Bhavesh Chandorkar, a resident of Bunder Pakhadi area in Kandivali, where the deceased also stayed.
The police said the incident was a fallout of a grudge that Chandorkar held against Pawar, who used to bully him.
“Pawar would misbehave with him and ask him to run errands on his behalf. Last year, Chandorkar had a fight with Pawar over a similar issue after which the latter had assaulted him along with his friends,” an officer said, adding that since they stayed in the same area, they often passed each other’s path and the two would fight often.
On December 25, Pawar had again assaulted him as Chandorkar had refused to buy a cigarette for him, said police.
The accused and his minor friend followed Pawar for a day, after which they decided to kill him in the wee hours while Khode and Pawar were asleep in the temple.
Chandorkar knew that Khode and Pawar locked the door (made of grill) from outside and slept. Chandorkar, with the help of the minor, poured five liters of petrol around the temple, and then set it on fire, said police.
“There was an explosion in the compressor of the water cooler, due to which even Chandorkar sustained burn injuries on his hand,” said an officer.
“The accused were aware that Khode and Pawar were sleeping inside but they did not have any knowledge that Gupta was also present inside the temple on Saturday night. Gupta had gone to sleep in the temple that night because his sister had come home, which only had limited space,” said an officer.
Police have booked Chandorkar under sections 302 (murder), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
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