The Thane Crime Branch has arrested one of the main accused in the murder of Bhiwandi Congress leader Manoj Mhatre in 2017, said police.
Mhatre (53) was killed by a group of seven men, who shot at him with a 12-bore gun and then hacked him with a knife near his residence on February 16. The incident was caught by a CCTV camera near the deceased’s house, said sources. During investigation, police found that Mhatre’s cousin, Prashant, had allegedly led the attack and brought six others in a car and a bike.
“Prashant was angry with Manoj as the deceased didn’t let him contest elections. The cousin worried that the deceased was usurping the family wealth and political positions,” said a Thane Crime Branch officer. Prashant was arrested from Mahabaleshwar in March 2017.
Police sources said that on June 20, Narpoli Police got information about one of the accused, Udaybhan Singh (43), a close aide of Prashant who was present at the time of the killing.
Singh, a resident of Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, had been visiting his home intermittently in the past two years, said police.
“We had been looking for him and had planted sources near his house. The sources informed us and we immediately sent a team to Sultanpur,” said the officer.
Police said the Crime Branch, along with a Lucknow STF team, nabbed Singh on June 22. “He is known by his alias, Guddu, and was mostly involved in planning the murder, and was present at the time of the incident. We are investigating his exact part and how he came in contact with the other accused. We are also trying to find out about other absconding accused from him,” said the officer.