Matka King murder: Five remanded to police custody till July 24

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Mumbai, Jul 11 (UNI) A special court today remanded to police custody till July 24, all the five accused for their alleged role in a criminal conspiracy to eliminate Matka king Suresh Bhagat in an orchestrated road accident.

The accused--Suhas Roge, Harish Mandvekar, Praveen Shetty, Nulbuddin Khan and Kiran Baban Amle--were produced before MCOCA Judge Y D Shinde, who remanded them to police custody till July 24.

According to top crime branch officials, the five have been booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control for Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) for their involvement in conspiracy to kill Suresh Bhagat.

Last month, Suresh's vehicle met with an accident, while he was returning to Mumbai from Alibaug where he gone to attend court proceedings against him. The vehicle of Suresh was rammed by a truck head-on, killing him and six others on the spot.

Crime Branch sleuths had recovered Rs 23.50 lakh from co-accused Harish Mandvekar, an associate of gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli, and Rs 11 lakh from Hitesh Bhagat, son of Matka King who was remanded to police custody under the stringent act.

Mandvekar had allegedly awarded a ''supari'' (contract) to Praveen Shetty, a truck driver, to run over and kill Suresh Bhagat and make the murder appear as road accident.

Mandvekar was allegedly hired by Suhas Roge, also an associate of Arun Gawli, to commit the crime, for which the latter had paid Rs 45 lakh. The motive behind the murder was to gain control over the entire ''matka'' business.

Roge and Jaya Bhagat, estranged wife of Suresh, were handling the matka business at Kalyan, a distant suburb in neighbouring Thane district.

Around three weeks before the mishap, Suresh had filed a complaint, alleging threat to his life.

UNI ST-GS SSS RL PM1843

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