After nearly two months, the local crime branch in Thane finally solved the murder of a Bandra boy, who was stoned to death by three friends.

The accused spiked the victim’s drink and murdered him at Ghodbunder, in Kashimira in November. Hindustan Times had reported the story on November 2.

The victim, Shivshankar, also known as Nikunj Shivprasad Chaurasia , 23, was a resident of Girgaum and had gone missing from his paan stall in Bandra. His father registered a missing complaint on November 27.

The three accused — Kamlesh Sahni, Rupesh Sah and Mantu Patel — were friends with Nikunj. “Nikunj was flamboyant and would display his wealth to impress his friends, who got jealous as they were jobless,” said Praful Wagh, assistant police inspector at the crime branch. “The trio hatched a plan to rob and then murder him.”

On the night of November 22, the accused took Nikunj to a bar in Bandra. After a few drinks, they purchased a few bottles of rum from a wine shop. The four went to Bandra bandstand where the victim was offered the drink that the accused had spiked.

“Rupesh spiked the drink with sedatives that he had got from his native village in Bihar,” said Wagh.

After Nikunj went unconscious, the trio hired a cab and took him to a desolate spot in Kashimira, where they first robbed him and then smashed him with a boulder. “The accused have confessed that they hit Nikunj with the boulder at least eight times until his face was disfigured. They removed his clothes and fled from the spot,” said Wagh.

“After the missing complaint was filed, we looked for Nikunj and found his body in Kashimira. We started a probe and luckily got CCTV footage from the paan shop, where the accused could be seen accompanying Nikunj. We detained Kamlesh from his Nalasopara home first and he told us about the other accused,” said Wagh.

Rupesh worked part-time as a security guard in a nearby building and would come to the paan shop after duty to chat with Nikunj. That is how they became friends,” said the officer. “After the murder, Rupesh and Mantu escaped to Bihar and we picked them up from there.”

The victim was cremated on November 26, which also happens to be his birthday. “The accused were produced in court and remanded in police custody,” said Wagh.

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The suspects, all known to victim, have told the police that they were in need of money and that their friend wore a lot of gold.

The Kashimira police have cracked the murder of the son of a popular paanwala from Bandra, with the arrest of three of the youngster’s friends. The suspects have told the police that they killed their friend, who wore a lot of gold, for money.

The crime branch of Thane Rural police said they tracked down the alleged killers after sifting through mountains of data and CCTV recordings. The police said main suspect Kamlesh Sahani (26) lives in Nallasopara, while the other two, identified as Rupesh Saha (25) and Mantu Patel (30) are from Bihar.

The body of 23-year-old Shivshankar aka Niku Shivprasad Chaurasia, son of Bandra’s famous paanwala, Munna Chaurasia, was found in Kashimira on November 24, 2016. He had been bludgeoned to death.

The cops began going through footage from CCTV cameras on the route to the crime scene. Soon it became clear that three more persons were with Shivshankar before he was killed. “We spoke to 402 people to arrive at this conclusion,” said an official.

As they kept going backwards, it was found that the victims and the trio had gone on to a few pubs in Bandra. But they could not identify anyone other than the victim.

The probe team then focussed on mobile phones. The found that only a handful of numbers figured in both locations – Bandra as well as the crime scene. This was their first major breakthrough.

On going through the call data records of the selected numbers, it was found that a lot of calls had taken place between Mumbai and Bihar from one particular number. In the call list was also conversation with a local security guard.

The security guard identified main suspect Kamlesh,” said assistant inspector Prafull Wagh of local crime branch of Thane Rural.

Kamlesh was then picked from his home in Nallasopara. “Based on the information provided by Kamlesh, we sent a team to Bihar and nabbed the other two suspects,” said Wagh.

The police said Shivshankar, who lived in Girgaum, had tagged along with the trio for a party at Bandra on the night of November 23, 2016. In Bandra, they did pub-hopping and drank a lot. They also purchased booze.

The trio then spiked Shivshankar’s drink to make him unconscious. They bundled him in a vehicle, took him Kishimira.

They crushed his head with a stone before dumping the body in the bushes and taking away all his jewellery. The victim’s body was found the next day.

The official said they have managed to recover a 2-tola gold chain belonging to the victim from a Nallasopara jeweller. “The other stolen items were sold off in Bihar which will soon be recovered,” said Wagh.

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