The 19-year-old who was killed by four people in Vikhroli (West) on Sunday over suspicion of mobile theft, had promised his ailing mother that he would mend his ways and had also started working as an auto driver for a living. Deceased Rahul Panchal had six cases registered against him.
According to police, Panchal was beaten to death by four people — that included his three siblings who were from his neighbourhood in the Chandan Nagar area of Vikhroli — on suspicion of mobile theft, while his family said it was a fallout of a former rivalry.
Parksite police in Vikhroli (West), where the murder case was registered, said the siblings who attacked were Suresh, Surendra and Shivakumar Verma, while the fourth accused had been identified as Manu Pandey.
Parksite Senior Inspector, Vilas Jadhav, said the accused suspected him of having stolen a mobile phone from their house and hence beat him up. “There is no clarity about if the deceased had actually stolen a phone, “ Jadhav said.
Panchal’s sister-in-law, Kalpana Bhosle, however, denied that Panchal had been murdered over a mobile phone theft. “He did have a few cases registered in the past for stealing small things. However, recently he had promised his ailing mother that he would mend his ways. He had recently got a new auto driver’s uniform and started driving the vehicle,” Bhosle told The Indian Express. “On Sunday, he took a bath, wore the new uniform, prayed and left the house. As he crossed the Shiv Sena Shakha around 150 metres from the road, the three accused were seated there. After an argument, a fight took place between the two groups,” she said.
“At this point, the fourth accused, Pandey, came from behind and grabbed him by the neck till the time he collapsed to the ground. My 10-year-old son, who was there, gave Panchal Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and he sat up for a bit. He looked around and then collapsed and died,” Bhosle added.
Panchal was rushed to the local hospital where he was declared dead. When asked about the allegations of mobile theft, Bhosle said: b“The story has been concocted.”
Outside the Panchal residence in Chandan Nagar area that is in Surya Nagar in Vikhroli, local residents complained about the law-and-order problems. Naseema Shaikh, who owns a shop in the area said: “The part of the street where the boy was killed is problematic. In the last two years, there have been several incidents in the area.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 7), Akhilesh Singh, said: “It is a sensitive area, but we have increased patrolling to ensure law and order is in control over there.”