Ratnagiri police arrested a Chembur-based real estate agent on Sunday for hiring a contract killer, who allegedly buried a 54-year-old woman alive in Sangameshwar taluka.
The police said the mastermind, Umesh Bhosale, duped the woman of Rs 25 lakh and because he was scared of the consequences, he hired a contract killer and instructed him to kill her.
The police said the woman, Smita Kusurkar — a resident of Lower Parel — was murdered on July 12. She used to work with an insurance company and was a founder president of the Insurance Women’s Forum.
The investigators said that they are yet to ascertain the exact motive, but they have learnt that the woman had reportedly lent Rs 25 lakh to Bhosale and when he refused to return the money, she lodged a police complaint against him in 2017.
“They met in 2009 near the Mantralaya for some work and later shared phone numbers. Kusurkar started trusting him so, when Bhosale asked her for the money citing personal reasons, she allegedly handed him Rs 25 lakh,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ganesh Ingale.
In 2017, when the woman approached the police and the National Commission for Women, the accused promised to buy her a plot in Sangameshwar.
“He tried duping her as he did not want to return the money. The accused showed her a plot in Sangameshwar and even made fake documents
of the property,” said an investigator.
On July 11, the woman boarded a train to Sangameshwar. She was picked up from the railway station by the alleged contract killer. “She had informed us that she would be back home by July 15. But when her phone was not reachable, we suspected something was wrong and informed N M Joshi police,” said Kusurkar’s husband Chandrashekhar.
The police learnt that the woman was located at Sangameshwar taluka in Ratnagiri for the last time. The local police station was informed and the alleged contract killer, Srikanth Ghadashi, was caught.
In his confession, Ghadashi said he had been paid Rs 6 lakh by Bhosale for murdering the woman, the police said. He said Rs 3 lakh had been paid in advance and he was yet to receive the remaining amount.
“Ghadashi said the accused stayed in Chembur. A team was dispatched and Bhosale was arrested from there on Sunday,” said an officer. He has been booked under relevant IPC sections for murder and destruction of evidence. Bhosale was produced in court and remanded in police custody till August 12.