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Amid Porsche Crash Probe, Builder Family's Chhota Rajan Link Under Lens

Two 24-year-old IT engineers were killed after the speeding Porsche hit their bike

Pune:

The teen driver, whose drunken drive in a Porsche Taycan left two 24-year-old software engineers dead in Pune, was out on bail within 15 hours of the crash. The bail order says he was being released on the assurance of his grandfather that he will keep the teen away from “bad company”. It has now emerged that the grandfather, who is learnt to have started the family’s real estate business, has links with gangster Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, widely known as Chhota Rajan.

The matter dates back to a 2009 attack on a Shiv Sena corporarator Ajay Bhosale. According to the CBI chargesheet filed in the case, the boy’s grandfather was locked in a property dispute with his brother and had allegedly contacted Chhota Rajan to mediate. The gangster got in touch with Shiv Sena corporator Ajay Bhosale, who knew the brother. But Mr Bhosale was busy with the Assembly polls that year and refused to intervene. The boy’s grandfather suspected that the Shiv Sena leader was backing his brother and allegedly asked Chhota Rajan to bump him off, the CBI chargesheet said. The Shiv Sena leader’s car was fired at near Pune’s Koregaon Park, but bullet missed him and hit his driver instead, injuring him.

Mr Bhosale, who is now with the Eknath Shinde-led Sena, told NDTV that his ‘supari’ was given by the builder, who is not being named because the accused in the Porsche case is a minor. The grandfather was also listed as an accused in the chargesheet, but not arrested. The attempt to murder case is now part of a bunch of cases against Chhota Rajan pending before a Mumbai CBI court.

In fact, back then too, Pune Police had faced questions regarding its probe into the attempt to murder case. Significantly, despite an underworld connection, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act was not invoked in the case and only IPC sections were invoked. In the FIR registered at Bund Garden police station, the builder grandfather was not named. It was only after the CBI took over the investigation that he came under the radar and was named an accused. But while most other accused were arrested, he secured an anticipatory bail.

Amid growing outrage over the software engineers’ deaths and allegations of preferential treatment, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was questioned about the family’s mafia links. The BJP leader, who is also in charge of the Home portfolio, assured a thorough probe. “Whatever be the links, these will be thoroughly investigated and action will be taken in the matter.”

Amid growing outrage, the juvenile justice board has modified its order and the teen has been remanded in an observation home. The board is also examining a police request for permission to try the accused as an adult. His father has also been arrested under sections of Juvenile Justice Act. The boy’s grandfather was questioned today by officers of Pune Police crime branch, which is probing the Porsche case.