Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders

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Rajendra Jakkal, Dilip Dhyanoba Sutar, Shantaram Kanhoji Jagtap and Munawar Harun Shah were commercial art students of the Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya [1], Tilak Road, Pune, India who committed 10 murders between January 1976 and March 1977, and were hanged to death on 27 November 1983. The quartet had acquired a reputation for bad conduct on their college campus. They frequently robbed and indulged in drinking.


Timeline of events

16 January 1976 - Prakash Hegde

Prakash was a colleague whose father, Sundar Hegde, ran a small hotel named Vishwa [2] behind Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya. The group hatched a plot to kidnap Prakash for ransom. On 15 January 1976, the foursome along with classmate Suhas Chandak picked up Prakash on a false pretence and took him to Jakkal's tin shed on Karve Road. They forced him to write a runaway note to his father stating that he was leaving home. On the night of 16 January 1976, they gagged him and took him to Peshwe Park [3]. They strangled Prakash with a nylon rope, placed his body in an iron barrel, inserted some stones and dumped the barrel into the lake. The following day, they sent a ransom note to Sundar Hegde.

August 1976 - Kolhapur

The gang moved to the city of Kolhapur in August 1976, but were unsuccessful when they targeted the house of a local businessman.

31 October 1976 - Joshi

Achyut Joshi from Vijaynagar was attacked on the night of 31 October. The group forced themselves into his house brandishing their knives. Achyut Joshi and his wife Usha were the only ones at home. After tying their hands and legs, the duo killed the married couple by strangulating Achyut Joshi with a nylon rope and suffocating his wife. When the Joshi's teenaged son Anand walked in, he was stripped naked and strangulated with the same identical nylon rope. After the murders they decamped with the booty – a mangalsutra, a watch and few thousand rupees.

22 November 1976 - Bafna

Yashomati Bafna's bungalow on Shankarseth road was attacked on the evening of 22 November. They, however, faced resistance from Bafna and her two servants and escaped by climbing the barbed wire fence of the bungalow.

1 December 1976 - Abhyankar

On 1 December, at around 8 p.m., they attacked the Abhyankar bunglow Smriti on Bhandarkar road. [4] There were five people at the house: noted Sanskrit scholar Kashinath Shastri Abhyankar (88), his wife Indirabai (76), their maid Sakubai Wagh (60), granddaughter Jai (21) and grandson Dhananjay (19). The four gained entry by ringing the doorbell. When Dhananjay opened the door, they stuffed his mouth with a ball of cloth, tied his hands and asked him to direct them inside the house. The men eliminated each of the members by stuffing their mouths with a ball of cloth, tying both their hands and legs and then strangulating with the nylon rope. Their granddaughter Jai, was stripped naked and forced to direct them to the valuables in the house before she was killed.

23 March 1977 - Anil Gokhale

Anil Gokhale was the younger brother of their college friend, Jayant Gokhale. On the evening of 23 March 1977, Anil was supposed to meet his brother at Alka Talkies. Anil was offered a lift home by Jakkal on his motorcycle. He was taken to Jakkal's shed and strangulated with the nylon rope. His body was tied to an unused iron ladder, weighed down with big boulders and dumped into the Mula-Mutha river near Bund Garden [5].


Assistant Commissioner of Police Madhusudan Hulyalkar led the investigation.nylon ropes used to tie the body to the ladder had been fastened in a manner identical to the prior murders. When investigated, the four boys contradicted each other about their joint movements in the city over the past week. Satish Gore, a colleague, broke down in the course of police interrogation and confessed. Further confessions made by another classmate, Suhas Chandak, who was witness to the Hegde killing. The killers were apprehended on 30 March 1977

Court Case

Shamrao G. Samant, a renowned and senior criminal lawyer who had successfully conducted many prosecutions for the State Government, was appointed the Special Public Prosecutor for the trial. The case began on 15 May 1978 in the Pune district and lasted for more than four months. On 28 September 1978 they were sentenced to death by Pune Sessions Court judge Waman Narayan Bapat. Their sentences were confirmed by the Bombay High Court on 6 April 1979 and their special leave petition against their convictions and sentences were dismissed by the Supreme Court on 17 November 1980.


After both the High Court and Supreme Courts turned down their appeals, the accused approached the President of India for a pardon. The president did not concede, and the four were hanged at the Yerawada central jail on 27 November 1983.


See also


  1. Ramakant Kulkarni, Footprints on the Sands of Crime, MacMillan India (2004), ISBN 978-1-4039-2361-5

External links

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