Pune: When Rahul Sapkale (26) was shot dead on the night of January 23 at a ground in Pimpri, the police had arrested a married woman Simran Ranjit Singh (21), who was talking to the victim at the time of the crime.
However, three months later, the police realised that the woman is innocent and the murder was the outcome of a fight three youths had with Sapkale. The youths had forced the deceased and the woman to move away from the ground as they wanted to drink.
Simran, who was picked up after the youth's parents complained to the police about her involvement in the crime, has been languishing in the Yerwada prison since then.
According to the Pimpri police, Sapkale, a resident of Gandhinagar in Pimpri, and Simran of Nehrunagar in Pimpri were busy chatting on a ground near the Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (HAL) Colony in Pimpri on the fateful night when the murder took place.
Meanwhile, head constable Shakir Jinedi of Pimpri police station received a tip-off that one Yogesh Rajaram Kadam (23) from Pimpri and his accomplices were involved in the murder. Accordingly, the police arrested Kadam and Ashfaq Nabilal Mewegar of Bhosari while Dharmendra Subodh Chaudhary is on the run.
A team was dispatched to Karnataka to nab Ashfaq who was hiding in a village. The team nabbed him with help of mobile app 'Navigator' and seized a pistol worth Rs 1 lakh from his possession. Kadam had given the pistol to Ashfaq to hide it.
Additional commissioner of police (North region) Prakash Mutyal said, "On the night of the crime, Kadam and Chaudhary had drinks at Chinchwad railway station. After that they went to the HAL ground where they had plans to drink more and play cards. The youths were threatening couples in the ground to vacate the area. Later, they noticed Sapkale who was talking to Simran. They asked Sapkale to move away but he did not oblige and a heated argument ensued between them. Furious, one of the youths took out the pistol and fired at Sapkale."
Mutyal added, "We have recovered the pistol along with two live cartridges and a super bike from the suspects. We will soon move an application before the court to discharge Simran from the case."
Simran has been deserted by her husband and for the last one year she had been staying with her parents. She works as a receptionist with a private hospital. She had met Sapkale, who ran a curtain-making business, through a rickshaw driver and got friendly with him.
Reward for cop
Lauding the role of head constable Shakir Jinedi in solving the case, additional commissioner of police Prakash Mutyal has announced a reward of Rs 5,000 for him. Jinedi has been in the police force for the past 27 years and have seized more than 65 illegal firearms so far.