The Maharashtra Police have arrested a senior journalist, editor and author, Balasaheb J. Bothe-Patil, the alleged key conspirator in the brutal killing of a Nationalist Congress Party leader, Rekha Jare, on November 30, 2020, officials said here on Saturday.
Bothe-Patil, who was absconding for over three months, was finally traced to his hideout in Hyderabad, from where he was arrested, said Ahmednagar Superintendent of Police, Manoj Patil, who personally supervised the case.
Earlier, Ahmednagar-based Bothe-Patil — serving a leading Pune-based media house — had sought anticipatory bail from the Ahmednagar Sessions Court and the Bombay High Court (Aurangabad bench), but both pleas were rejected.
According to the police, Jare (39), the President of NCP’s Yashaswini Mahila Brigade, was driving along the Pune-Ahmednagar Highway with her mother Sindhutai S. Waikar, son Kunal and friend Vijayamala R. Mane, on November 30 last year.
That evening, they were accosted by two motorcycle-borne persons who forced the vehicle to a stop near the Jategaon Phata on the highway. A huge altercation followed before the assailants slit Jare’s throat before speeding off.
Initially, it was suspected to be a case of intense road rage, but police investigations made the chilling revelation that it was a well-planned contract killing, sending shockwaves in the political and media circles.
Within a fortnight, police teams fanned out across the district and its surrounding areas to nab a total of seven persons, including Feroze R. Shaikh (26) of Rahuri, Dnyaneshwar S. Shinde (24) of Shrirampur, Aditya Cholke (25) of Kolhar, Sagar Bhingardive (31) of Khedgaon, and Rishikesh Pawar (23) of Pravaranagar.
After their sustained custodial interrogation, the accused spilled out the alleged involvement of Bothe-Patil, who has finally landed in the police net. The police are probing the exact motive behind Jare’s killing.