Timed attack while targets were asleep: Accused

Pradeep Sonavade, the waiter arrested for the murder of three of his colleagues at Natraj Bar and Restaurant in Vidyavihar, has told police during interrogation that he had planned to commit the murders at a time when he knew the victims would be asleep.

Sonavade was arrested on Sunday for allegedly stabbing his colleagues Vasant Mudira, Bhaskar Dalvi and Raja Dakholia to death at the bar. Sonavade has claimed that he was constantly harassed and humiliated by the trio.

Interrogation has also revealed that while revenge was the sole motive, Sonavade also tried to break open the cash register. However, he lost his nerve after committing the murders, police said.

The police said as Sonavade used to sleep at the bar till dawn, he knew that all three would be asleep by 2 am after shutting the place for the day. As he had no accomplices to help him, he decided to attack them while they were asleep so as to minimise resistance, a police officer said.

"Sonavade first killed Dalvi and Dakholia while they were asleep. The sound woke up Mudira and in a half asleep state, the sight of Sonavade standing over him with a blood soaked knife disoriented him. Instead of fighting back, he tried to run away, which worked in Sonavade's favour. He ran after Mudira and stabbed him as well," said senior inspector Bhimdev Rathod, Chembur police station, who holds additional charge of Tilak Nagar police station as well.

"We have information about Sonavade being an alcohol addict, and that he used to visit a prostitute in Grant Road area regularly, for which he might have needed money. We are verifying this," said an officer with Tilak Nagar police.

Additional Commissioner of Police (East region) Quaiser Khalid added, "Sonavade was only paid Rs 1,500 per month and did try to take money from the bar. However, he was flustered and fled without taking any cash."

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