The accused, Chandrakant Waghmare, is a resident of Mohopada, Rasayani. He was arrested from Neral on Sunday evening. New Panvel police said he has confessed to the crime.
The four victims — Balaram Topale (42), Ramdas Patil (52), Preetam Gharat (25) and Nitin Joshib (40) — were found dead at a farmhouse owned by the vice-president of Agriculture Produce Market Corporate (APMC) local agricultural group activist, Dr Datta Patil, who is Ramdas’s uncle.
Topale was found dead inside the bungalow with a bullet wound on his temple,with Ramdas’s body a few feet away. Gharat’s body was found near the bungalow while Joshi’s in the fields near the farmhouse.
The police said Waghmare lured the victims by offering them a lucrative deal. Three days before the murders, Ramdas took the keys to the farmhouse from his uncle, saying that he had a meeting with friends regarding a real estate deal.
Waghmare had asked Gharat to bring Rs 14 lakh for the deal, police said. On reaching the farmhouse, Waghmare allegedly asked Topale to give Rs 500 to the watchmen and ask them to return in four days.
Police said Waghmare was carrying a country-made pistol with him. After killing the four victims, he wiped his fingerprints off the pistol and placed it in Topale’s hand before fleeing, said the police.
“Waghmare has not told us where he got the pistol from. The post-mortem report of the four victims suggests that Waghmare killed them between 3 and 3.30 am last Wednesday,” said Sunil Bajare, senior inspector. “We are trying to find what property deal Waghmare had laid out for the victims. We will seize the documents pertaining to the property,” said Bajare.
Waghmare was remanded in police custody till November 26.