Barely 12 hours after the murder of a sadhu in an ashram in Maharashtra's Nanded, the prime suspect has been caught, a top police officer said on Sunday.
Addressing media persons, Nanded Superintendent of Police Vijaykumar Magar said the prime suspect, Sainath Langote, first killed his accomplice Bhagwan Shinde and then went to the ashram late on Saturday.
Langote entered Shivaharya Maharaj's bedroom where he was resting and threw chilli powder in his eyes, blinding him. Then he quickly grabbed cash of Rs 69,000, his laptop and other valuables in the bedroom worth approximately Rs.1.50 lakh and the sadhu's car keys.
As the sadhu attempted to grapple with him, Langote pinned him down and strangled him, then dragged his body to the car parked outside and dumped it into the boot.
The Superintendent said that the accused started the car and sped off towards the road outside, but the car crashed into the main gate of the ashram. The crash created a noise and alerted the other sevaks sleeping inside the ashram.
The sevaks rushed outside when they saw the sadhu's belongings and his body in the car trunk, they attempted to stop Langote, but they couldn't. Langote managed to steal a motorbike and sped off into the darkness and hours later, the police found the body of his accomplice Shinde from a nearby school premises, Magar said.
The Superintendent of Police said that the deceased Sadhu and the murder accused are of the same community and that there no communal angle in the murder case.
The sadhu, Shivaharya Maharaj, had arrived from Karnataka to Nanded over a decade ago. He was the founder-spiritual head of Nirvanji Pashupatinath Mutt.
PWD Minister Ashok Chavan, who belongs to Nanded, appealed that the murder should not be politicized, since the police investigations are underway and the autopsy report is awaited.
Congress leader Acharya Pramod Krishnam, on Sunday, expressed anguish over murder of a saint in Nanded, Maharashtra. "Is being saint in India a crime? After killing of two saints in Palghar, murder of a saint is very sad," he tweeted in Hindi.
(With inputs from IANS and ANI)
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