A day after a Congress leader in Bhiwandi civic body was shot dead, police booked at least eight persons, including the cousin of the deceased, in connection with the case.
According to police, political rivalry was the motive behind the murder.
Manoj Mhatre, a corporator and leader of the party in Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation (BNMC) was fatally attacked last night around 9.30 pm at Oswalwadi in Bhiwandi by eight unidentified assailants as he returned home after attending a meeting, police said.
“Manoj’s cousin Prashant Mhatre allegedly planned the murder as he wanted to get a party ticket from the deceaseds ward for the upcoming municipal elections,” said Ashutosh Dumbre, Joint Commissioner of Police, Thane.
“Narpoli police have booked eight persons, including Prashant, Manoj’s driver, two attackers and others in this connection. No arrest has been made so far and four teams have been formed to nab the accused,” he added.
According to Dumbre, Prashant wanted to contest the upcoming Bhiwandi civic body elections as a Congress candidate from the ward where Manoj was a sitting corporator.
In the past, Prashant’s father was a corporator from that ward and had strong rapport with local people, he said adding, “In the 2007 municipal corporation polls, Prashant’s father had insisted Manoj to fight the civic polls as a Congress candidate as he did not want to be in the fray due to old age. Manoj had won that election and was becoming popular in the area.”
“Before the 2012 Bhiwandi civic elections, Prashant had asked Manoj to stay away saying it was his claim to fight the polls. However, Manoj had succeeded in getting the party ticket from the same ward again,” Dumbre added.
In 2014, Manoj was attacked by unidentified people, but survived the attempt on his life, he said.
Last night, the incident took place when Mhatre’s driver was parking the car after Manoj got down from the vehicle and was heading to his place. One of the attackers came from behind and fired three bullets at point blank range and others attacked with swords. His hand was also chopped off. After making sure that he was dead, attackers fled away on four motorcycles.
Mhatre was rushed to a private hospital in Thane, where he was declared brought dead.
Police went through the footages of CCTV cameras, which captured the whole incident. Offence had been registered against unidentified attackers at Narpoli police station.
The crime branch of Thane Police has also started a parallel investigation into the case, police said.