Mumbai Police Crime Branch made three fresh arrests Thursday in the murder of BJP worker and RTI activist Vasant Patil (55) of Bhandup allegedly by civil contractor and self-proclaimed Congress member Baban Khopde a week ago.
The arrested include Khopdes son Sagar (22) and his two friends. They have been accused of plotting and executing the murder with Khopde.
Patil was killed at his residence in Jai Bhavani Chawl last Monday. Khopde,who was arrested a few hours after the murder,had claimed he executed it alone. However,police doubted him as there were 31 stab wounds on the victim.
They said the Khopdes wanted to settle a dispute with Patil,BJP ward 106 president,and attacked him with choppers and swords with Sagars friends. Sagar,a BMC employee pursuing a BA degree,and friends Nitin Khilari (23),and Santosh Nimangare (22) of Mulund Checknaka were arrested as they were returning from Shirdi. They had fled to the pilgrim centre after after disposing of bloodstained clothes.
We are in the process of recovering the clothes, said Himanshu Roy,Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime).
Police said Nitin was pursuing computer engineering,while Santosh was a mechanical engineering dropout. They were earlier booked for an attempted dacoity.
Crime Branch officers said Patil had used RTI to expose irregularities in projects being executed by Khopde. He had brought the illegalities to the notice of BMC as well as the District Collector.This stalled many projects of Khopde, Roy said.Sunday,the two (Patil and Khopde) had a heated argument. After Khopde told Sagar about it,he called Nitin and Santosh and they hatched a conspiracy to kill Patil, he said.
Police said Nitin and Santosh slept in the Khopde house Sunday night. Monday morning,the four allegedly barged into Patils house and killed him.