Months after three men were bludgeoned to death after being sodomised in separate incidents, Rajkot police on Friday arrested an autorickshaw driver from Jamnagar in this connection.
They also arrested a labourer for allegedly killing a 58-year-old man in a similar way at a bus stop on the outskirts of the city.
A city crime branch team arrested Hitesh Ramavat from Bedeshwar area of Jamnagar, where he was living in rented accommodation.
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According to the police, Ramavat was a homosexual. He used to drive an autorickshaw in Rajkot before fleeing to Jamnagar after committing the third murder on June 2.
“We had been trailing him for the last 24 hours. It was a massive operation. Around 1,280 policemen were put on the job in different teams. He was nabbed this evening from Jamnagar and has been brought to Rajkot,” city police commissioner Anupam Singh Gehlot told mediapersons. He also said Ramavat confessed to the crimes.
The series of murders started on April 20 when Sagar Mevada, a tea seller, was hammered to death with a stone near Bhaktinagar railway station after a scuffle, police said. This was followed by an assault on May 23 near Saurashtra University on autorickshaw driver Pravin Barad (58), who succumbed to injuries at a city hospital a few days later.
Similarly, Vallabh Rangani (60) was killed on June 2 when he went out for a walk early morning. His body was found on Mavdi-Pal Road, with a heavy stone smeared with blood lying close to it.
Police had released CCTV footage and sketches of a man who was captured on camera walking alongside Rangani. Ramavat was on the run since that incident and a reward of Rs 2 lakh was announced for his capture, investigators said.
Earlier in the day, Sandip alias Suresh Mokariya, a casual labourer, was arrested for allegedly bludgeoning to death Dhirajlal Vikani, a former travel agent, at a bus stop in Shapar-Veraval area on the outskirts of the city.
According to the police, Vikani and Mokariya had a scuffle three nights before the murder over sleeping on a platform of the bus stand. The victim was unemployed and used to search for job in the industrial estate of Shapar-Veraval.
“Furious after the scuffle, Mokariya murdered Vikani with a heavy stone in the early hours of Thursday,” DIG (Rajkot range) D N Patel said.
“He is facing trial for a murder that he allegedly committed in Porbandar four years ago. Additionally, cases under the the Prohibition Act have been filed against him in Porbandar,” Patel said.