Updated: November 3, 2020 11:31:08 pm
Pune City Police has taken custody of gangster Bapu alias Prabhakar Nayar (40) from Yerawada Central Prison in connection with the murder of Shiv Sena youth wing leader Deepak Maratkar.
Son of late Sena leader Vijay Maratkar, Deepak (36) was a leader of the party’s youth wing in Pune. Vijay Maratkar (67) had succumbed to Covid-19 in July.
Deepak was brutally killed by a group of assailants, who stabbed him 47 times with sharp weapons, when he had stepped out of the house during the intervening night of October 1 and 2. Investigation has revealed that Nayar, who was lodged in Yerawada Prison, had planned the murder with his gang members and others during a visit to Sassoon General Hospital for treatment, said police.
Police had initially arrested three persons, including a woman, Ashwini Kamble, who had contested the Pune civic polls against Vijay Maratkar back in 2017. Both Kamble and Maratkar had lost the elections.
Initial investigation revealed that the murder was the fallout of a turf war for dominance over Budhwar Peth and surrounding areas in the heart of Pune city, according to police.
Further probe revealed links between the assailants and suspects to a criminal gang headed by Bapu Nayar, who has been lodged in Yerawada Prison under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) since May 2016 after he was arrested from Noida.
Nayar has been named in at least 15 criminal cases since early 2000, including cases of murder, attempt to murder, extortion, kidnapping and other serious offences.
In the last week of September, Nayar was brought to Sassoon General Hospital from Yerawada Prison for treatment. The probe has revealed that at the hospital, he met some of the suspects in the Maratkar murder, including his “henchman” Swapnil Modve alias ‘Chocolate’, who is said to be currently controlling the gang in the absence of Nayar. The hit on Deepak Maratkar is suspected to have been ordered during this meeting, of which police now have security camera footage.
Six police personnel have been suspended for dereliction of duty for allowing this meeting to take place when Nayar was in their custody at the hospital.
Nayar’s arrest is the 12th one in connection with this case. Prior to that police, have arrested 11 suspects including Modve alias ‘Chocolate’. The others are Ashwini Kamble, Mahendra Saraf, Niranjan Mahankale, Prashant Kolte alias Sunny, Rahul Ragir, Rohit Kshirsagar, Rohit Kamble alias Bala, Sandip Kolte, Lakhan Dhaware and Chandrashekhar Waghel.
On October 22, Pune City Police had invoked MCOCA against the suspects in the case. This is the third MCOCA charge against Nayar and his gang members.
After taking his custody from Yerawada Prison, police produced Nayar before a magistrate court in Pune, where he was remanded in police custody till November 9.
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