The son of a Shiv Sena municipal councilor from Thane was arrested on Saturday for allegedly murdering his step-brother over a property dispute and dumping his body into Vashi Creek.
The deceased, Rakesh Patil (35), was councillor Manik Patil’s son by his first wife. The accused, Sachin Patil, is Manik’s son from his third marriage. The police said that Rakesh begrudged his father’s decision to allow Sachin to stay in the family’s newly-built bungalow in Thane’s Waghbil village.
“The step-brothers would fight frequently over who had the right to live in the bungalow. As a compromise, Manik built a separate staircase for Rakesh to enter the bungalow. But this only angered Sachin further because he felt that Rakesh would inherit the bungalow in the event of his father’s death, as he was the son of the first wife,” said Senior Inspector K R Khairnar from Kasarvadawli police station.
The police alleged that after Manik was admitted to the hospital on September 15 with an ailment, Rakesh broke open his safe and stole 3.7 kg of gold from it. The theft was only discovered when Manik returned home on September 20. As there was no sign of Rakesh, the family assumed it was because he had fled after stealing the gold.
Manik registered a complaint of theft against Rakesh at Kasarvadawli police station. The family also filed a missing person’s case the same day when Rakesh could not be found anywhere.
Khairnar said that the only clue available to the police at the outset was that Rakesh’s scooter was missing. “We tracked down a man named Gaurav Singh who used to frequently borrow the scooter and recovered the scooter from his possession,” he added.
Singh, who was Sachin’s personal driver, allegedly divulged his role in murdering Rakesh and disposing his body to the police.
“Early on September 20, Sachin and Singh persuaded Rakesh to share a drink with them after learning that he had stolen the gold. Singh confessed to having spiked Rakesh’s drink with sleeping pills. Once he passed out, Sachin shot Rakesh in the forehead with a country-made pistol. The accused wrapped Rakesh’s body in plastic sheets, loaded it into the boot of his car, drove to the bridge over Vashi Creek and threw it into the water,” said Khairnar.
Singh told the police that Sachin had promised to pay him Rs 2 lakh for helping him.
As soon as Sachin came to know that the police had tracked down Singh, he vanished on September 22. The police registered a case of murder against Singh and Sachin on September 23. After a three-day search across Thane and Navi Mumbai, the police located Sachin at Ulwe village in Navi Mumbai. Khairnar said the pistol and stolen gold jewellery were recovered from Sachin’s possession.
The police are currently engaged in locating Rakesh’s body. “The accused have shown us the place where they threw the body. But the rain and strong current have made the search operation difficult. We have enlisted the assistance of the fire brigade and the local fishermen,” Khairnar said.
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