During interrogation, Sanjay allegedly told the police that the murder that he committed in the first week of July 2011 was his first crime.

The Anti-Extortion Cell of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch has arrested a 28-year-old man in two murder cases that took place in 2011. The accused had been arrested in connection with another case last year but managed to keep his involvement in the previous two murders a secret, till an informant tipped off the police.

According to Crime Branch officers, the accused has been identified as Sanjay Shettiar (28), a resident of the Gorai area in Borivali, who was working as an auto driver after his release from prison in January this year. Crime Branch officials said that earlier this month, the AEC received a tip off that a man who had committed two brutal murders in 2011 was now working as an auto driver in Mumbai. An AEC team then tracked him down and kept him under close observation to confirm whether he was indeed the man who was involved in the murders. The policemen travelled in his auto a couple of times posing as passengers so that they could observe him closely and after confirming that this was indeed the man they were looking for, the police brought him to the AEC office for inquiries. “After sustained interrogation, Sanjay confessed to having committed the two murders — one in Shahpur and the other in Lonavala — in 2011. Both murders were committed along with several other accused, some of whom are currently in jail after being arrested for various other offences,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) KMM Prasanna.

During interrogation, Sanjay allegedly told the police that the murder that he committed in the first week of July 2011 was his first crime. The police said Sanjay, along with his friends Mohiuddin Sheikh and Shivkumar Shetty, had visited Trimbakeshwar in Nashik and ran out of money, after which they hatched a plan to rob someone. “The trio stopped a private vehicle and asked the driver to drop them to Mumbai in exchange for Rs 100 per person. On the way, they strangled the driver, identified as Raghunath Avhad, and threw his body near Mokhadi in Shahpur after robbing him of all his valuables. The Shahpur police later found the body and registered a case of murder against unknown persons,” said Prasanna.

Shortly after their return to Mumbai, Sanjay’s cousin Shekhar Shettiar approached him and told him that a Santacruz-based businessman, Harish Dedhia, had been harassing his mother and sister over a financial dispute. A plan was hatched and on July 11, Shekhar brought Dedhia to Vile Parle in his car under a false pretext, where Sanjay, Sheikh, and another accused identified as Lala got into the vehicle.
“The accused took Dedhia to Lonavala, strangled him, mangled his face to the point of decapitation and disposed of his body at the Battery Hill in Mawal, Lonavala. A missing persons complaint was registered by Dedhia’s family with the Santacruz police, and the body was found on July 17 by the Lonavala police, who had registered an accidental death report in the matter,” Prasanna said.
Sanjay was placed under arrest following his confession and handed over to the Shahpur police for further inquiries.

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