A convict in a kidnap and murder case lodged in Nagpur Central Jail was done to death by a fellow prisoner, himself a murder convict, on early Monday morning. The deceased, Ayush Pugalia, 25, had been sentenced to a three life terms by the High Court in 2015 for kidnapping and killing eight-year-old Kush Prashant Kataria, son of a prominent businessman in 2011.
Superintendent of Police, Central Jail, Rani Bhosale told The Indian Express: “Pugalia had gone to toilet around 7 am, when he, apparently had a verbal exchange with another prisoner, Suraj Kotnake. The latter, who said that Pugalia had used abuses during the quarrel, admitted to hitting Pugalia with a piece of floor tile on his head. Others who gathered at the spot took Pugalia to the prison hospital where he was declared brought dead.”
A magisterial inquiry was initiated. There were reports of Pugalia’s throat also being slit open. But Bhosale didn’t confirm it. She also didn’t confirm reports about the two frequently engaging in fights. “We have informed the police about the case,” she said when asked about the reports. Kotnake was convicted of killing his maternal relative and is also serving life term. Later, Pugalia’s brothers Navin and Nitin alleged that it was a contract killing and demanded CBI inquiry.
Pugalia had killed Kush, his neighbour for ransom, with which he was planning to shower his girlfriend with costly gifts on her birthday. The murder had caused a great stir and the then Prithviraj Chavan government had appointed special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam to fight the case. The lower court had sentenced Pugalia to two life imprisonments, which the HC enhanced to three in 2015.
Nagpur central jail has been in news over the past few years for incidents like group escape by Mcoca accused, discovery of hundreds of cell phones smuggled into the jail and its high profile inmates such as Mumbai blast accused Yakub Memon, hanged two years ago, and underworld don Arun Gawli.