Five accused have been held for the robbery and murder of a 37-year-old jeweller of Om Sai Raj Jewelers Shailendra Pandey, who was shot at point blank range, within 12 hours. The accused trio was arrested from Gujarat, where they had escaped, while the main conspirator is still at large. The conspiracy was hatched in Madhya Pradesh and was executed in Dahisar on Wednesday. Police are probing if the accused have a past record and ascertaining if MCOCA charges can be invoked.
Vishwas Nangre Patil, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) said that the three assailants-- Ayush Pandey, 19, Nikhil Chandal, 19 and Uday Bali, 21 were called in from Madhya Pradesh by the main conspirator Banti Patidar, 22, who is at large. "The main accused had procured two country made weapons from Madhya Pradesh, where the three assailants had practiced how to fire in a jungle. The assailant trio had come to Mumbai on Tuesday in a Honda City car and after refreshments, they slept in the car, only to wake up the next day, steal a two wheeler Activa scooter and then head to the jewellery store in Dahisar," Nangre Patil said.
Police said it was a premeditated robbery and murder as the assailants were asked to first shoot the victim before he could react, as there was an electronic door lock which could be activated by pressing an alarm button. "The assailants fired two shots at Shailendra Pandey, after which he collapsed and the trio stole 30 tolas of gold from the shop and decamped. Electronic evidence showed that the trio had come in a Honda City car, whose owner was traced as Chirag Rawal, 21. While Rawal earlier tried to evade all questions, he finally cracked up and revealed that he had picked up the assailants near Sanjay Gandhi National Park when they arrived from Madhya Pradesh in a tourist bus," an official said.
Police said that Chirag had taken the trio in his Honda City car, and had given them ₹5,000 to them to arrange a new vehicle to flee to Surat. Chirag also had an accomplice, Ankit Mahadik, a Zomato delivery person, who had done the recce of the shop and spot. "On Chirag's instructions, after dumping the Activa scooter near Fountain Hotel in Bhayandar, the trio rented an Eco Sport car for ₹3,000 and fled to Bor Bavdhan in Surat.
Police received a tip off that a man, who claims to be a distant relative of the victim, whose role is being ascertained in the matter, had given shelter to the trio. "After picking up the man from the factory, we reached his house, where the trio was staying, luckily, the door was locked from outside to evade any suspicion and they were arrested," added Nangre Patil.
Police said the main conspirator, Banti Patidar, who works in a diamond unit, had orchestrated the whole plan and it was all thought out in Madhya Pradesh, executed in Dahisar and arrests were made from Surat. Police have recovered one country made weapon of the two, that were dumped in a marsh land, and they are also checking the past criminal records of all the accused, to ascertain if MCOCA sections can be invoked in the matter.