Cook hatched murder-robbery plot: Police

The crime branch of Pune police Saturday claimed to have cracked the case of murder of an elderly married couple at their Sterling Apartment residence in Warje Malwadi on December 25 with the arrest of an accomplice of the prime suspect, Sunny Lama (20), a cook at the couple's house.

The arrested suspect, Rizwan Mustafa Patel (28), is from Agaripada slums in Mumbai.

Police had, along with Lama, earlier booked Dil Bahadur Tamang (20), an engineering student at Sinhagad College in Pune. Police have given Tamang a clean chit and removed him from the list of suspects. Both Tamang and the cook stayed with the couple, Kamlakar Shankarrao Ranjeri (50) and Simla (50) and were missing after the murder.

Police investigations, however, revealed that Tamang was at his native place in Nepal when the murder took place.

Acting on a tip-off, the crime branch team arrested Rizwan. Police said Rizwan is a friend of Lama, who had conspired with him and four others to murder the couple and rob their money, to the tune of Rs 50 lakh, they had received on December 14 after selling their two-bedroom flat in Sterling Apartment.

The other four suspects have been identified as Sagar Murali Kurkula, Rizwan Mustafa Patel, Rizwan Bandeawaz Nadaf, Shafiq Umar Ansari and Jameel Wahab Ansari alias Timbu, police said.

Police have launched a search for the absconding suspects. Patel was remanded in custody of the Warje police further investigations.

Police said Lama discussed the plan to loot Rs 50 lakh from the couple with Sagar Kurkula, then allegedly gathered Patel and others. They allegedly murdered the couple assaulting them with sharp weapon at their residence around 1 am on December 25.

The suspects had fled in the couple's car, which police found abandoned near the Lonavla bus stand.

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