A 55-year-old businessman from Palanpur of Banaskantha was found burnt to death, in what seems to be a case of murder, at an isolated spot outside the city on July 14. The incident has drawn concerns from the trading community in the city, even as police have been unable to find any leads.
The victim has been identified as Dalpatbhai Prajapati (55), a resident of Navalpark society in Old Lakshmipura of Palanpur. He is the owner of Krupa Dresses, a kidswear shop in Kirti Chamber Complex in Palanpur Taluka.
On July 14 at around 5 pm in the evening, his charred body was found alongside the Akesan-Vedancha road in Palanpur Taluka by a few people. According to the police, the body was found charred to death and tied to a tree by an iron wire, making it an act of murder based on prima facie evidence.
The victim is survived by his wife Geeta Ben and two sons Sandil Kumar Prajapati, a businessman, and Fenil Kumar Prajapati, a doctor at Palanpur Civil Hospital.
A case of murder against unknown persons was filed at Palanpur Taluka police station on July 14 night under IPC sections 302 and 34 after the victim’s son Sandil submitted a complaint.
“Like every day, my father left for his shop around 8:30 am on his motorcycle. Later at 5:45 pm, my mother informed me that my father is not picking up his phone. Worried, I called up his shop assistant Nikitaben who informed me that around 10:15 am, my father left the shop telling her that he has to go somewhere to receive some money. Then she told me she waited till 3:30 pm and called him on his phone but he didn’t pick up and she had shut the shop after 4 pm. Around 6 pm, I received a call from my father’s number. An unknown person told me that they found this phone near a body and saw missed calls under my number so they called me back. I asked the person his location and along with my brother reached there to find my father’s body charred and tied with iron wire to a tree,” Sandil said in his complaint.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sandil said that his family has no doubts over anyone behind the act. “My father had no enmity with anyone in the past and we have no idea why anyone would kill him in this brutal manner. I am not aware of any major loan taken by him,” he added.
The murder of Prajapati has caused anger among the traders’ community in Palanpur which demanded swift police action in the case. A campaign was also run on social media to demand justice for the 55-year-old businessman.
Speaking to The Indian Express, MK Zala, police sub-inspector and in-charge of Palanpur Taluka police station, said, “The body was found in Akesan village and the post mortem has been conducted. However, we are awaiting its results in order to ascertain the cause of death. We have two eye witnesses who have confirmed that they saw the victim in Akesan village around 12 pm that day. We are further investigating the case.”
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