District-level cricket player stabbed to death in Bhandup

Family suspects local resident who harasses them often

A district-level cricket player from Bhandup was allegedly stabbed to death near his residence late on Thursday. The police have launched a manhunt for three suspects who were seen committing the crime.

District-level cricket player stabbed to death in Bhandup

Rakesh Pawar (35) was a well-known cricketer from the area, who had played Ranji Trophy matches and also coached young cricketers. The police said Pawar had gone out with a woman when the incident occurred.

“Enquiries so far have revealed that Pawar’s friend suddenly left in an autorickshaw and shortly after, he was accosted by the three assailants near Mahavir petrol pump close to midnight on Thursday,” police inspector Kiran Bhalerao, Bhandup police station said.

Sources said the three stabbed Pawar many times before fleeing the scene. Three petrol pump attendants, who were on duty at the time,took him to Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar, where he was declared dead before admission. The Bhandup police was then informed and teams were sent to the hospital as well as to the petrol pump.

Across the road

The murder took place across the street from the Ambewadi Colony in Bhandup, where Pawar used to stay with his wife Archana, son Sarvesh (9), daughter Vaidehi (3), brother Ravi and his wife Vandana.

He was the only breadwinner in the family and his death has left them distraught. “He always helped everybody and our entire family was dependent on him. My children have been asking for their father since morning and I don’t know what to tell them,” Ms. Archana said.

The suspect

Ms. Vandana said they suspect a local resident with whom Pawar had altercations in the past. “Sohail Khan (19) and his family used to intimidate us into paying them large amounts of money during Ganeshotsav and this dispute has been going on for eight to 10 years. However, none of us thought it would lead to something like this,” she said.

Mr. Ravi said he, too, was attacked by Mr. Khan and his friends around a year ago, after which he had filed a complaint against them.

“Sohail and his friends slammed his bike into me and now my left leg is permanently damaged. They also used to harass our children and trouble us all the time. We have filed three complaints against them till date. Had the police taken strict action against them earlier, maybe my brother would be alive today,” he said.

Police sources said investigation into the case is under way. “We are also finding out whether Pawar’s woman friend was somehow involved in the murder, and whether the motive is connected to her friendship with Pawar. We are scanning closed circuit television camera footage of the crime scene to identify the accused as well as try and map their movements after the murder,” an officer who is part of the investigation said.

The police have for the moment registered a case of murder against unidentified persons under the Indian Penal Code.

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