Updated: June 30, 2022 8:22:14 pm
The Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) has demanded that the anti-superstition legislation be invoked in the case of killing of nine members of a family in Mhaisal town of Sangli in which the police have arrested two persons, including a mantrik who had promised the family ‘Guptadhan’, hidden treasure.
The 48-year-old mantrik, Abbas Ahmedali Bagwan, who was admitted to a hospital on Tuesday after he complained of chest pain during medical tests, was produced before the court in Sangli on Thursday and remanded to police custody till July 8.
Police are yet to invoke the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013 in the case. Investigators have said that a call invoking the anti superstition legislation will be taken as the probe progresses.
On Wednesday, a team of MANS members, including Dr Hamid Dabholkar, son of murdered anti-superstition activist and MANS founder Dr Narendra Dabholkar, met Sangli district superintendent of police Dikshit Gedam. The MANS team submitted a representation seeking application of the anti superstition legislation in the case. The team also sought stringent action against other such mantriks and self-proclaimed godmen in the district, who claim to have supernatural powers and dupe people. The team also met the relatives of the Vanmore family, Mhaisal residents group and Gram Panchayat members.
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The incident was reported in the afternoon of June 20 when two brothers, Dr Manik Vanmore (49), a veterinarian, and Popat Vanmore (52), an arts teacher, along with their mother, wives and four children (a total of 9 family members), were found dead in two separate houses located a kilometre apart at Mhaisal in Sangli district. The mantrik, Abbas Ahmedali Bagwan, along with Dheeraj Suravase (30), his aide and driver, both residents of Solapur, were arrested on Sunday for allegedly killing the family by poisoning.
Suravase was produced before a court on Tuesday, which remanded him to police custody till July 7 for further investigation. However, Bagwan was admitted to the Miraj Civil Hospital in Sangli after he reported chest pain while being taken for pre-arrest medical tests. He was again taken into police custody on Wednesday night after his discharge from the hospital and is slated to be produced before a magistrate’s court for hearing on custodial remand.
Earlier, on discovering two suspected suicide notes from the houses of the deceased persons, police probed the possibility of the family taking the extreme step because of heavy debt. The police initially booked 25 persons, most of whom had lent money to the family and were allegedly pressuring them into repayment. Of these 25 persons, 19 have been arrested so far.
Special Inspector General of Police (Kolhapur Range) Manojkumar Lohiya told The Indian Express earlier that the probe revealed that the Vanmore brothers were in contact with the mantrik who claimed to help them unearth the hidden treasure. Over the last couple of years, the two brothers had borrowed large sums of money from people to pay the mantrik from time to time, police said. Primary probe suggests that the night before the deaths, the mantrik and his aide went to the houses of the deceased persons on the pretext of performing some rituals and gave them something to consume, which was laced with a poisonous substance.
Asked about the suicide notes, Lohiya said, “The probe still suggests that the notes were written by the two brothers. It now seems that the brothers were misled into writing those notes. We are still probing that angle.”
On the 25 persons booked earlier, Lohiya said, “The case is now taking a different direction. As the probe progresses, we may file an application to release these people charged with abetment to suicide.”
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