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‘Smothered with cake’: Minister’s former PA, suspended cop held for Mumbai trader’s murder

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Udani had gone missing on November 27 after he left his chauffeur driven car on the Eastern Express Highway.

DAYS AFTER the body of diamond merchant Rajeshwar Udani (57) was found in the bushes of Mere village in Panvel, a political worker and a suspended constable of the Mumbai Police were arrested for allegedly smothering the businessman with a cake.

The accused have been identified as Sachin Pawar (37), a BJP member and former personal assistant of state Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, and suspended constable Dinesh Pawar (27), who was arrested in a rape case on December 7. Udani had gone missing on November 27 after he left his chauffeur driven car on the Eastern Express Highway.

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With his cellphone not reachable, and Udani failing to return his Garodai Nagar residence in Ghatkopar, a missing complaint was registered with the Pant Nagar police on November 28 by his family members. While his body was found on December 4, the family members identified Udani on Friday.

The police said that Sachin wanted to murder Udani as he believed that the deceased was trying to get close to his live-in partner. “Sachin was also angry as Udani had been harassing him to return some money that he owed. Udani had been continuously messaging him to return the money,” a police officer said.

“In the postmortem report, it has come to light that Udani had suffered a fracture to his nose and was smothered,” said Lakhmi Gautam, Additional Commissioner of Police (East Region). Gautam added that Dinesh, attached to the Local Arms Unit, was booked in a rape case filed by a woman member of his gym in March. He was suspended by the police in April.

When contacted, minister Mehta said, “He was my PA from 2004 to 2009. He was also a member of the party till 2010, following which he was expelled…. I don’t remember the last time I spoke to him.”

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