Two lawyers among 8 accused arrested for Pune don Mohol's killing, shunted to police custody

Pune, Jan. 6 (IANS): In a shocking twist, two lawyers are among the eight accused persons nabbed in connection with the broad daylight killing of Pune gangster Sharad H. Mohol near his office on Friday afternoon, the police said here on Saturday.

All the accused were produced before a Magistrate's Court, which sent them to police custody, officials said.

The accused lawyers have been identified as Ravindra V. Pawar (40) and Sanjay R. Udaan (43), both from Pune district, who have been sent to three-day police custody.

The others who were sent to five-day police remand are prime accused Sahil S. Polekar (20) alias Munna, Namdev M. Kangude (35), Chandrakant S. Shelke (22), Vinayak S. Gavankar (20), Vitthal K. Gandhale (34), and Amit M. Kangude (24) alias Agar -- all Pune locals.

Polekar was among the trio who shot Mohol at point-blank range near his office-cum-home before fleeing from the spot on motorcycles parked near the crime scene.

Soon after executing the crime, the accused attempted to scoot out of Maharashtra in two vehicles, a sedan and an SUV, but were nabbed late on Friday night from two different locations on the Pune-Bengaluru Highway.

The shootout that shook Pune took place on Mohol’s marriage anniversary at Pandurang Wadi in the Sutardara area of Kothrud on Friday at around 1.15 p.m.

Several CCTV clips that emerged on Saturday showed how Mohol (40) after having lunch with his associates stepped out of his office when three of the guests suddenly whipped out country-made pistols and fired at him in a narrow lane.

An aide of Mohol standing nearby displayed presence of mind to run towards one of the shooters and even tried to catch him, but all of them managed to escape.

Then, the aide and another person rushed a profusely-bleeding Mohol to the nearby Sahyadri Hospital, but it was all over within a matter of seconds.

The police said that of the four rounds fired, Mohol took three bullets, two on the right shoulder and one on the chest that zipped through the heart, leading to his death.

Following a complaint lodged by an aide, Arun Dhumal, the Kothrud police station lodged an FIR invoking IPC sections of murder, attempt to murder, conspiracy, and Arms Act against the accused.

Moving swiftly, the Kothrud Police formed nine special teams of Crime Branch and local cops which fanned out to different parts of Pune, Satara and Kolhapur, scanned CCTV footage from different areas, road toll posts, deployed tech-intel and tapped informers.

On learning that the accused had escaped in two separate vehicles on the Pune-Bengaluru Highway via Satara, the Pune Police requested the Superintendent of Police in Satara to put up strategic road blocks, and the absconders were caught from two different locations while travelling in a Swift car and Mahindra SUV.

The police have seized three country-made pistols, five magazines with three live cartridges, the two getaway vehicles, at least eight mobile phones, and cash to the tune of Rs 22.39 lakh from them – within eight hours of the murder.

Unravelling the purported motive behind the well-planned killing, the police said that Polekar used to work with Mohol, doing odd jobs. Polekar and his associates had shadowed Mohol for nearly three weeks before getting the opportune moment to bump him off on Friday.

The prime reason for the killing is believed to be an old enmity between Mohol and Polekar’s uncle, Namdev M. Kangude, and another relative, Vitthal K. Gandhale, who are among the arrested accused persons.

Mohol was once an accused in the alleged killing of an Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist, Qateel Siddique, inside the Yerawada Central Jail premises, but was acquitted in 2019.

However, he remained behind bars for a 2010 murder case years till he secured bail from the Supreme Court in 2021.

In July 2022, he was externed from Pune district for six months. He was earlier detained twice under the stringent MCOCA, besides facing 14 major criminal cases pertaining to murder, attempt to murder, extortion, abduction, etc.

Incidentally, Mohol’s wife, Swati, had joined the BJP in April 2023 and was welcomed by state minister Chandrakant Patil into the party fold.

Mohol is survived by his wife, a son, mother and a brother, and marked his wedding anniversary on Friday, the day he was murdered, shortly before he was planning to visit a nearby temple.

Hailing from a farmer’s family, he was earlier the driver of his elder brother and gangster Sandip Mohol, who was shot in 2006 by a rival mafia gang.

Later, Mohol took over the gang and avenged his brother’s murder by killing gangster Kishore Marne, who was among the suspects in Sandip Mohol's shootout.



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Title: Two lawyers among 8 accused arrested for Pune don Mohol's killing, shunted to police custody

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