The Local Crime Branch (LCB) of Amreli district police on Monday detained a 25-year-old man from Rajkot city over the alleged murder of a Mumbai resident a month ago in Amreli.
Police said the youth, who had committed 52 crimes of chain-snatching in the past five years, bludgeoned the Mumbai man to death apprehending the latter would inform police about him.
Acting on a tip-off, a team of LCB detained the man, Shyam alias Vijay Dhanesha, who was going on his motor bike at the Savarkundla bypass road in Savarkundla town of Amreli on Monday. “A few days ago, a case of chain-snatching was reported from Savarkundla and we were hunting for the accused. Based on our analysis of CCTV footage and intelligence that Dhanesha was to pass by the entry gate to Savarkundla town, we kept a watch there and nabbed him. During primary interrogation, he confessed to killing Jignesh Dhakan, a native of Amreli and a resident of Mumbai, at Shani Ashram in Oliya village in Amreli on June 7,” LCB police inspector RK Karamta told The Indian Express.
According to the inspector, Dhanesha and Dhakan met at Shani Ashram and became friends. “Dhakan who was selling pani puri in Mumbai came to his native village of Oliya to meet relatives and couldn’t return due to Covid-19 lockdown. Dhanesha returned to Amreli from Surat for the same reason,” the inspector said.
“In the meantime, Dhakan came to know that police were looking for Dhanesha and asked him about the same. Dhanesha avoided a direct answer but grew apprehensive that Dhakan would inform police about him. Therefore, he left the ashram but forgot to pick up his bag. The same night, he went back to the ashram on his bike to collect his bag and found Dhakan asleep alone. To prevent Dhakan from passing any information to police about him, Dhanesha hit him on head with an iron road, killing him on the spot,” he added.
The LCB said that the subsequent incident of chain-snatching in Savarkundla and a bag that the police recovered from the ashram provided important clues. “After murdering Dhakan, Dhanesha left, picking one of his bags, leaving behind another. Police seized the other bag that had his identity cards, which helped us,” Karamta said, adding a sadhu living in the ashram saw a man speeding away on bike in the night of the murder.
The inspector said Dhanesha took to crime due to financial crisis. “Dhanesha was preparing to become a chartered accountant when he was guarantor of one his friends to help the latter avail money from a money-lender. But the friend didn’t repay the money and the lender started recovery from Dhanesha. He could not repay entire amount and left his home in 2015. He took to chain-snatching later,” said Karamta.
The LCB officer added that during interrogation, Dhanesha confessed to have snatched 39 chains in Surat, six in Rajkot, three in Savarkundla taluka of Amreli, and two each in Jamanagar and Vadodara over the past five years. “For three years, he worked as a salesman at a garments showroom in Surat. In between, he would target women going alone, snatch their chains and then speed away on his bike,” said Karamta.
Police said that after committing the murder, Dhanesha escaped to Surat before coming back to Amreli recently. “Dhanesha’s samples have been sent for Covid-19 testing. He would be arrested if the result is negative,” said Karamta. Police have recovered three gold chains and one dhaliyo from Dhanesha.