Politician, suspended cop arrested; TV actress detained in diamond trader’s murder case
In a major development, a politician and a suspended policeman have been arrested while a prominent model-cum-TV actress was interrogated under detention by Mumbai Police following the mysterious murder of a diamantaire, Rajeshwar K Udani.
According to police, the politician, Sachin Pawar, was a close friend and business partner of the victim and earlier with the BJP. The suspended policeman, meanwhile, is the main person who executed the crime, the police said.
Earlier, actress Devoleena Bhattacharya – Sachin’s alleged girlfriend – was grilled for several hours by police in Ghatkopar three days after the missing Udani’s body was recovered in the forests of adjoining Raigad district.
However, officials remain tight-lipped over her role in the case but hinted that some more people may be summoned for questioning, and did not rule out more arrests in the case.
Udani (57) had been reported missing by his family from his office from November 28. The police had registered a missing case and launched a search for him. His mobile was tracked in Rabale, Navi Mumbai before its signal was lost.
After nearly a week, on December 4, since he remained untraced and the family suspected something amiss, police registered a kidnapping case.
His driver told police that Udani asked him to be dropped near the Pant Nagar market where another vehicle came and he got into it.
His highly decomposed body, without any apparent injuries, was found late on December 5 and without any identification papers. He was identified by his son from the clothes and shoes he was wearing.
Investigators suspect Udani’s kidnappers may have killed him at some other location before dumping the body in the Panvel forests.
Police investigations and call data records have revealed that Udani was a regular at some bars and in touch with several women, including from the glamour and entertainment industry, through Sachin Pawar, a former aide to a Maharashtra Minister, Prakash Mehta.
Admitting that Pawar was with him from 2004 to 2009, Mehta on Friday evening said since then he had severed all links with him and claimed that he had been sacked from the BJP after he contested a BMC election as an independent.
The motive, as unraveled so far, was some financial dispute between Sachin Pawar and Udani, besides the latter eyeing his alleged girlfriend Devoleena with ‘wrong intentions’.
Sachin Pawar was tracked down to Guwahati, where he had reportedly fled after Udani’s murder and he was tracked by mobile records.
Dinesh Pawar, on the other hand had already been arrested in connection with a rape case on December 7. The suspended cop used to run a gym called ‘STG Gym’ in Ghatkopar where one of the employees had lodged a rape complaint against him.
They are being charged for murder, criminal conspiracy and other offences, said the official.
Police have questioned two dozen persons and are on the lookout for the vehicle which picked up the victim on the night he went missing.
Dancer-model Bhattacharya (28) is also an award-winning actress, seen in several TV serials notably as Gopi Bahu in the popular “Saath Nibhana Sathiya” besides reality shows.
More women from the entertainment industry may be called for questioning, police have said.
With agency inputs