The Pune Rural Police have recovered as many as 13 country-made pistols from the associates of Santosh Jadhav (23), who is named as a suspect in the Sidhu Moosewala murder case. Police said members of Jadhav’s gang from Pune went to Sendhwa, Madhya Pradesh (MP) on June 3 and procured these firearms from people known to the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, which is suspected to have masterminded Moosewala’s murder in Punjab on May 29.
Meanwhile, a Pune Rural Police team that had gone to Delhi, interrogated Bishnoi in connection with his links with Jadhav and Siddhesh Kamble (19) alias Saurav alias Mahakal, who are accused in criminal cases in Pune.
The names of Jadhav and Kamble had cropped up in the Moosewala murder case investigation by Punjab police. The duo was arrested by Pune Rural Police in separate actions this month. Mahakal was arrested from the Pune-Ahmednagar district border and Jadhav was nabbed at a village in Kutch in Gujarat.
“Our team has interrogated Lawrence Bishnoi. Probe confirmed that both Jadhav and Mahakal were associated with the Bishnoi gang. While on the run in a criminal case, Jadhav developed contacts among top Bishnoi gang operatives at least two-and-a-half years ago through social media. Jadhav also stayed at Bishnoi’s residence in Punjab,” said Abhinav Deshmukh, Superintendent of Pune Rural Police in a press conference Saturday.
He added that Punjab and Rajasthan police teams visited Pune as Jadhav and Mahakal were allegely involved in crimes committed in these states.
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Meanwhile, after watching media reports of Jadhav’s arrest, a businessman from Junnar district in Pune came forward to lodge a complaint of extortion against him. Police said Jadhav, who is from the Pokhari village in Pune district, had demanded Rs 50,000 twice from the businessman in the past six months and also threatened to kill him.
After receiving the complaint of extortion, an FIR was lodged at Narayangaon police station against Jadhav and his aides. After police interrogated Jadhav, they learned that his aides Jeevansingh Nahar (23) and Shriram Thorat (32) as well as a minor boy had gone to threaten and extort money from the businessman.
A local crime branch (LCB) team arrested Nahar and Thorat and recovered two pistols and cell phones from their possession. A court remanded them to police custody for five days on Friday.
Further probe revealed that under Jadhav’s instructions, two of his gang members, including Jayesh Bahiram (24) of Ghodegaon, went to Madhya Pradesh on June 3 and purchased the firearms.
Then on Jadhav’s orders, his aides Nahar, Thorat, a minor boy and four others, including Vaibhav alias Bhola Titkare (19), Rohit Titkare (25), Sachin Titkare (22), Jishan Mundhe (20), Nahar, planned to extort money from the Junnar-based businessman, police said.
Police then arrested the four other accused in this case on Friday. During searches, five pistols were recovered from Jayesh’s house and six more from the other accused. Police said all accused, including the minor boy booked in this case, have previous criminal records. Besides firearms, the police have also seized their cellphones and vehicles for further investigation.
The Pune Rural Police have discovered that several youngsters from the district were following Jadhav on social media. “This is a serious issue. We plan to meet the parents of these youngsters to counsel them,” said Deshmukh.