The Pune rural police have arrested seven members of a gang that allegedly murdered two elderly women and assaulted two others to rob them in separate incidents in the district. The series of robberies,where the suspects targeted old women living alone and made away with booty worth a few lakh over the last two months,had sent shock waves across the district.
The suspects,Popat Ramdas Kale (20) is a resident of Mhalunge Padwal,Junnar,while Sagar Ashok Ware (19),Bhau Yeshwant Kale (40),Kiran Ashok Ware (20),Santosh Nivrutti Kedar (20),Amol Ananda Butambare (21) and Vitthal Ananda Bhutambare (22) hail from Ambegaon.
The suspects are currently in police custody and so far,stolen valuables worth Rs 1 lakh have been recovered from them. Police said that some of the suspects were also involved in vehicle thefts.
Later,they formed a gang and started targeting old women in villages.
District superintendent of police Shahji Solunke said the gang members admitted to their involvement in two serial dacoities in Junnar on January 28 and 29,in which two old women were killed.
The gangsters would identify the homes of elderly women at isolated places. They would move around in the villages on the pretext of collecting honey or catching crabs, said Solunke.
The gang first targeted 80-year-old Jayvantabai Bhalerao of Nimgav Sava village in Junnar on January 28.
They hit her head with a hard object and took away valuables from her house,said a police officer. Bhalerao died in the incident.
The next day,the gang robbed and murdered 98-year-old Muktabai Gawli at Rajuri village in Junnar,the officer said.
Earlier,the gang had attacked 70-year-old Tarabai Pote in Shirur. They assaulted her and then robbed valuables from her residence. Pote was injured in the incident. Police have recovered Potes gold chain from the suspects.
The gang similarly robbed 90-year-old Shevantabai Pachpute of Bori in Junnar on January 12. Police said the gang was also involved in the break-in at the house of former MLA Popatrao Gawde in Talki Haji village.
Acting on a tip-off,a Pune rural police team comprising inspector Ashok Kshirsagar,assistant inspector Amar Jagdale,sub-inspector M R Swami,constables Vinod Kale,Sahdev Thube,Somnath Wadgaonkar,Vilas Ambekar,Shivaji Markad,Jitendra Pansare,Sunil Adhari,Dattatraya Shinde,Anil Chavan and Raju Momin la.