Pune: A 42-year-old doctor from Satara district of Maharashtra, arrested last week in connection with the murder of a woman anganwadi worker, has made a chilling confession that he killed five more people, including four women, between 2003 and 2016, police said today.
The accused, Santosh Pol from Wai, also tried to mislead the investigators probing the “disappearance” of the anganwadi worker, Mangala Jedhe, by giving a written complaint to police saying Jedhe had duped him by taking his 20 tola gold on the promise of doubling it.
“Dr Pol spilled the beans on the multiple murders during interrogation in the case of 47-year-old Jedhe’s death, following which police exhumed four bodies, apart from Jedhe’s, from his farmhouse last night,” Sandip Patil, Superintendent of Police, Satara, told PTI.
Pol, who is being dubbed as “Dr Death”, is in police custody till August 19 after his arrest on August 11 for allegedly kidnapping and murdering Jedhe, president of Maharashtra Purva Prathmik Shikshika Sevika Sangh, on June 16.
According to police, Pol and his aide Jyoti Mandre, a nurse who allegedly had an illicit relationship with the accused, kidnapped Jedhe and killed her by administering a lethal dose of a medicine and buried her near the doctor’s farmhouse.
“Pol and Mandre had kidnapped Jedhe from a bus stop in Wai on June 15, when she was on her way to visit her daughter in Pune, and took her to his poultry farm near Dhome village, where she was murdered by administering overdose of lethal medicine and was buried,” Patil said in a press release.
“However, in order to mislead the police, Pol approached the local crime branch and filed a written complaint, accusing Jedhe of duping him by taking his 20 tolas gold with a promise that she would double it,” he said.
Police also said he registered a case with the local police that unidentified people had attacked him. “Since we were investigating the missing case of Jedhe and needle of suspicion turned to him, he even tried to put pressure on police by using different means, like agitations,” Patil said.
After checking the call details of Pol and Mandre, police came to know that Jedhe was in contact with them and zeroed in on the latter, who later spilled the beans. Police then picked up Pol on August 11. He later showed the place where he had buried Jedhe.
During his interrogation, Pol told police that besides Jedhe, he had killed five women and one man in a similar fashion between 2003 and 2016.
“Pol had killed Surekha Chikane on May 20, 2003. In August 2006, one Vanita Gaikwad became his victim. On August 13, 2010, he killed one Jagabai Pol. A jeweller named Nathamal Bhandari was killed on December 7, 2015 and on January 17 2016, he murdered one Salma Shaikh and on June 16 this year, he killed Jedhe,” police said.
Out of the six, Chikane’s body was buried near the doctor’s house in Dhom and those of Jagabai, Nathmal, Salma and Jedhe near his farmhouse, whereas the body of Gaikwad was thrown into a water reservoir.
“After Pol’s arrest, we exhumed Jedhe’s body and after his confession, skeletons of four victims, buried at farmhouse and near his house were also exhumed,” police said.
Special Inspector General of Police, Kolhapur Range, Vishwas Nangare Patil said the motive behind all the murders is still to be probed and that Pol is not cooperating in the investigation.
“However, it looks that there could be a financial angle behind all these murders. We will probe each and every angle,” he said.
SP Sandip Patil said Pol was also planning to eliminate Mandre, who was witness to Jedhe’s murder.
“He had dug up a place near his poultry farmhouse, where he was supposed to bury her after killing her. It was Mandre, who led us to him and he was apprehended,” he said.
Taking cognizance of a series of murders by Pol, Satara Police have made an appeal to the residents living in and around Dhom village to come forward and report if their family members have gone missing after visiting Pol’s clinic.
“After our appeal, two people have come forward and informed the police that their respective family members are missing and suspected Dr Pol’s involvement in their disappearance,” Patil said.
He said in 2013, an assistant police inspector (API) attached to Wai police station had died in an accident and there was talk that Pol might have been behind his death. “The API had initiated action against Pol’s criminal activities and police suspect that Pol might have got him killed in that accident,” Patil added.
“Now, we will start investigating that case and see whether he (Pol) has anything to do with the accident,” he said.
According to the SP, they would start an internal inquiry to ascertain why the missing cases were not done probed properly.
“I took charge in June this year and got to know that Pol used to bring pressure on police officers by threatening them of going to anti-corruption bureau,” said Patil.
“Pol was such a terror in the area that after his arrest, people congratulated police and heaved a sigh of relief,” he said.