Updated: August 30, 2021 7:05:37 am
A 42-year-old man accused of kidnapping and murdering an RTI activist and journalist in Rahuri town of Maharashtra fled from the premises of a government hospital in Ahmednagar on Saturday afternoon, when he was being shifted to Pune for treatment of kidney stone after testing positive for Covid-19.
The absconding accused has been identified as Kanhu Gangaram More, a real estate dealer from Rahuri. More was arrested in connection to the kidnapping and murder of 48-year-old journalist and Right to Information (RTI) activist Rohidas Datir in the first week of April. Datir’s body was found at a secluded place on the premises of a college in Rahuri. Around 15 days after the murder, police arrested More and later, three more of his accomplices. All four were lodged in Rahuri sub-jail in judicial custody.
Initial probe had revealed that Datir, who worked for a weekly magazine, had an ongoing dispute with More over a property in Ganegaon village in Rahuri. On August 16, More was admitted to a government hospital in Ahmednagar city after he tested Covid positive.
“While being treated for Covid-19, More complained of kidney stone-related complications. On Saturday afternoon, he was being shifted to Pune for further treatment when around 5 pm, while an ambulance was being readied for him, he told the police guards on duty that he wanted to use the washroom. He is believed to have fled from there. An immediate search of the premises and surrounding areas was launched once it came to light that he was missing, but he could not be found,” said an officer from Ahmednagar police.
An extensive manhunt has been launched for More, police officials said. Teams from Rahuri police station where the offence was registered along with those from Ahmednagar city where More escaped custody and those from Local Crime Branch are part of the search effort, Deputy Superintendent of Police Sandeep Mitke said.
After he had gone missing, Datir’s wife Savita lodged a complaint of kidnapping at the Rahuri police station, after which the police launched a probe. Examination of the videos captured by some of the CCTV cameras in the area had revealed that the SUV used by the accused to kidnap Datir belonged to More. Subsequently, More and his accomplices identified as Vikram Mali, Taufiq Shaikh and Akshay Kulthe were arrested. One more suspect in the murder conspiracy, Anil Gawade, is yet to be arrested and the police have started the procedure to seize his property.
According to the complaint lodged by his wife, Datir had been receiving threats and had even been attacked prior to his abduction and killing.
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