Pune, Jan 25 (IANS): In a stunning revelation, the Pune police on Wednesday said that the seven bodies fished out of the Bheema River in the past one week, were victims of a macabre case of "mass murder" by their kin and five persons have been arrested.
As per preliminary investigations, the motive behind the murders - a couple, their daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren - is believed to be a family feud arising out of a tragedy.
Since over a year, the victims - the Pawar family - lived in Nighoj village in Parner, Ahmednagar and the adults worked as daily wagers, Pune's Superintendent of Police, Rural, Ankit Goyal said.
After the investigations, the police managed to trace and arrest the prime accused - Ashok K. Pawar, 39, Shankar K. Pawar, 37, Shyam K. Pawar, 35, Prakash K. Pawar, 24, and woman Kanta S. Jadhav, 45.
Goyal said that all the accused-arrested are relatives of the deceased Pawar family, the motive is believed to be an old family feud, and they have been booked for charges of murder, conspiracy to murder, common intent, etc.
Their interrogation revealed that Ashok Pawar's son, Dhananjay was killed in a road accident and he blamed Mohan Uttam Pawar (whose body was fished out from the river) and his son Anil Mohan Pawar for the tragedy.
Ashok Pawar nursed a grudge against his relatives which resulted in the seven 'mass murders' committed last week, he said.
Pune police had retrieved the 7 bodies, from different locations, from the Bheema River in the vicinity of Yavat village at Daund for five days from January 18-22.
However, a major breakthrough was achieved in the case after a mobile phone was found with one of the woman's bodies fished out on January 20, said Goyal, who was flanked by the IO Rahul Dhus, Additional SP Anand Bhoite and others.
From the phone's data, the police team managed to track down the victims' relatives living in Ahmednagar who identified them from the photos and belongings, he added.
The victims were: Mohan Uttam Pawar 45, his wife Sangita Pawar, 40, daughter Rani Shyam Phulware 24, her husband Shyam P. Phulware, 28, and their three children - Ritesh, 7, Chhotu, 5, and Krishna, 3.
The first body of a woman was spotted by locals, on January 18, and after a search in the river with motorboats and divers scanning several hundred metres, the remaining victims were brought out over the next five days.
Even as the incident sent shocks among people in three districts, the Pune police cracked into action by setting up multiple probe teams and managed to solve the case by arresting the five.