Mumbai Crime Watch: Man held for killing watchman in Powai over gambling
FPJ Correspondent

Close to three months after a security guard, Ankit Singh, 22, was found murdered in the parking lot of a Powai highrise, police arrested the prime suspect, Avinash Pandey, 38, from Delhi on Sunday. Police said, Pandey had earlier murdered two persons, including his cousin in 2000 and 2008, and was short tempered. He was arrested from Delhi after being on the run and moving to six cities in three months to evade arrest.

Singh, a security guard at Lodha Supreme in Powai, was found in a pool of blood with a slit throat. Powai Police had registered a case of murder against unknown persons and soon realised that Singh's colleague, Avinash Pandey was missing after the incident, making him a prime suspect in the murder. Police sought Pandey's details from the security agency that hired him, only to realise that he had given fake addresses and numbers.

Primary probe revealed that Pandey and Singh had become close friends, who would consume alcohol and play Ludo during night shifts. They even gambled while playing the game, which often led to fights between the two over monetary issues. On October 27, the duo was playing the game as per tradition and an argument over money escalated, after which Pandey, who was short tempered, slit Singh's throat with a sharp knife, killing him.

Powai Police had made several teams to trace the accused, but Pandey gave police a slip everytime hours before they could reach. On Sunday, police received a tip-off that Pandey was coming to Delhi's Kamala Market and laid a trap to nab him there. As per information, Pandey walked right into the trap and was arrested.

"Pandey had fled to several cities like Pune, Satara, Orissa, Gujarat, Bengaluru before he was nabbed at Delhi. He survived by selling his mobile phone and working odd jobs. Pandey was wanted in a murder case and acquitted in another, he was also wanted in an arms possession case at Allahabad," said Ankit Goyal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 10).

Interestingly, Pandey was very confident that he will get away with these murders and was never planning to return to Mumbai. Moreover, even after getting caught, Pandey claimed that 'Lord Bholenaath' had told him not to stay in Delhi as there was a grave danger, said Goyal.

Police said, Pandey was arrested based on human intelligence as he had neither contacted his family in Allahabad since 12 years, nor used a mobile phone after the murder in October last year. Pandey was arrested on Sunday and booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for murder. He was produced in a local magistrate court on Monday and remanded in police custody till February 21.

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