Three unknown people pump bullets into owner of video-game parlour; hill station rife with talk of property dispute being behind murder, but cops say loss of valuables point to dacoity
A 54-year-old businessman from Mahabaleshwar city was shot dead at his residence by three unknown people late on Sunday night. While speculation is rife that the murder took place over property disputes, the Mahabaleshwar police have claimed that it was an incident of dacoity. The deceased was identified as Bharat Pradeep Sathe (54), a resident of Datta Ashram on Sabne road in Mahabaleshwar city. Another businessman, Sunandan Narayan Lalaskar (37) from Ramgadh in Mahabaleshwar, lodged the complaint in this regard.
Who killed him? Bharat Sathe. pic source/Raju Sanadi
Based on Lalaskar's FIR, the police booked three unknown suspects on charges of murder and dacoity. Sathe used to run a video-game parlour, which was attached to his residence, just about five minutes from the city police station. The hill station was gripped with panic after the incident came to light yesterday morning. According to the Mahabaleshwar city police, Sathe was at his residence and about to close his shop when three unknown suspects carrying revolvers barged in around 11.45 pm. The suspects locked up a woman employee in a room and then tied Sathe's hands in another room. They then ransacked his game parlour.
"Sathe was threatened with revolvers by the suspects, who looted valuables and items worth Rs 92,000. Later they shot Sathe in the neck and chest, and fled the spot around 1 am. The woman employee screamed for help, after which neighbours came to their rescue," a police official said. Inspector Kuhinkar from Mahabaleshwar city police station said Sathe's body had been sent for post-mortem and the report was awaited.
Asked about the possibility of enmity over property disputes, Kuhinkar said, "Police teams are trying to nab the suspects but we don't want to speculate on the angles yet." The Mahabaleshwar police put up barricades and check points at all the entry-exit points of the hill station, but failed to apprehend the suspects.