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Pravin Togadia’s cousin murdered: Three held in the case, four others absconding


New Delhi: Three persons were arrested today in connection with the last night’s triple murder in city’s Ashvinikumar road area, where one of the victims was a relative of VHP leader Pravin Togadia, police said. Police are looking for four more persons in connection with the murders which they suspect occurred over extortion money pertaining to a land deal in Amreli district.

While one of the victims is identified as Bharat Togadia, the relative of the VHP international working president and brother of the Leader of Opposition in Surat Municipal Corporation, Prafful Togadia, others are Balu Hirani and Ashok Patel.

The matter took a political turn with RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav questioning the law and order situation in Gujarat.

“What kind of governance (raaj) is here?” Lalu tweeted against the backdrop of the “jungle raaj” barb hurled by BJP at the JD(U)-RJD coalition government in Bihar over the recent killings in taht state.

Gujarat state unit Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki also tweeted, “Where is the law and order in Gujarat?”

The victims were stabbed by unidentified persons inside Hirani’s office in Varachha locality at around 9 PM. Mahesh Radadiya who was injured in the attack is battling for life in hospital.

“We have arrested three persons in connection with the triple murder and have identified four other persons whom we are trying to locate and arrest as they are currently absconding,” said Surat Police Commissioner, Ashish Bhatia.

He said extortion of money in connection with a piece of land in Amreli district was the prima facie reason behind the murders. The attackers allegedly used to extort money from Balu Hirani. The officer said the assailants had come to meet Hirani seeking Rs 50 lakh yesterday.

“These people were extorting money from Hirani and had come to meet him demanding Rs 50 lakh. When other victims, Bharat Togadia, Ashok Patel and Mahesh Radadiya tried to intervene, they attacked them with sharp weapons,” Bhatia said. The arrested persons were identified as Mehul Bharwad, Lalu Bharwad, and Imran.

A team of Varachha police and crime branch sleuths has been deputed to arrest the main accused, identified as Gautam Golden and Ganesh Mangadh. While Bharat Togadia and Hirani died on the spot, Patel succumbed to injuries in the hospital.

Pravin Togadia today attended the last rites of Bharat and demanded proper investigation into the matter.

“Human life is precious. This is a sad incident that a young life was lost, so police should take action and arrest the culprits,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile, reacting to questions over law and order situation in Gujarat, BJP’s state unit president Vijay Rupani said the Congress “has no moral right to comment”.

“During the Congress rule, the state had descended into chaos in terms of law and order, and it is the BJP government which restored law and order situation. Gujarat is taking proper steps to ensure law and order,” he said.

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