This article titled ‘Joshi Abhyankar Case 1976: Facts and Judgement of the Court.’ is written by Antariksh Anant and discusses the case in detail. I. Introduction This article throws light on the story of four ordinary college-going students who went on a mysterious killing spree. Rajendra Jakkal, Munawar Harun Shah, Dilip Sutar and Shantaram Kanhoji Jagtap were pursuing commercial… Read More »

This article titled ‘Joshi Abhyankar Case 1976: Facts and Judgement of the Court.’ is written by Antariksh Anant and discusses the case in detail. I. Introduction This article throws light on the story of four ordinary college-going students who went on a mysterious killing spree. Rajendra Jakkal, Munawar Harun Shah, Dilip Sutar and Shantaram Kanhoji Jagtap were pursuing commercial arts from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya, Tilak Road, Pune. Even in their college, they were...

This article titled ‘Joshi Abhyankar Case 1976: Facts and Judgement of the Court.’ is written by Antariksh Anant and discusses the case in detail.

I. Introduction

This article throws light on the story of four ordinary college-going students who went on a mysterious killing spree. Rajendra Jakkal, Munawar Harun Shah, Dilip Sutar and Shantaram Kanhoji Jagtap were pursuing commercial arts from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya, Tilak Road, Pune.

Even in their college, they were not academically sound or study oriented and often indulged in creating nuisance in the campus and were well known for causing trouble to other students.

The four of them had indulged in the habit of drinking and other prohibited activities such as petty thefts and stealing. Even after several warnings, they did not stop with their immoral activities. After several petty crimes, they finally decided to go big and went on an eventful killing spree.[1]

II. Prakash Hegde (January 1976)

The year was 1976 when the group planned on kidnapping their class fellow Prakash Hegde. Hegde’s father ran a hotel called Hotel Vishwa, situated close to the college campus. They called Prakash to Jakkal’s tin shed on the pretext of discussing business with him.

After that, they coerced him to write a farewell note addressed to his father stating that he is leaving home. After that, they stuffed his mouth with a cloth and took him to a big park in the vicinity- Peshwe Park, a park made by Madhav Rao Peshwe.

There, they strangled him to death with a nylon rope, then packed his corpse into an iron barrel and covered it with stoned and finally dumped him in the lake situated in the park. The next day, they sent a note to his father demanding ransom. His father also arranged for the same, not knowing the fate of his son.

After a few days, Prakash’s body was found floating in the lake and that is when the police discovered it. An accomplice to this crime was a mutual class fellow of them named Suhas Chandak, who was later caught and who eventually confessed to the crime along with exposing the group.

III. The Kolhapur Incident (August 1976)

In August 1976, the gang tried to attack a businessman’s house. However, this effort went in vain as the security guards shooed them away and they could not be successful in their stint.

IV. Achyut Joshi, Pune (October 1976)

This time, the news came from the city of Pune, which shook the entire city. The group’s target this time around was a wealthy businessman named Achyut Joshi. On the 31st of October, the group forced themselves into his house that was situated in the Vijayanagar Colony, Sadashiv Peth.

At that time, the only person present in the house was Achyut Joshi along with his wife. The gang tied them up and strangled them to death using nylon ropes.

They didn’t stop here. When their son, Anand, who was a mere teenager, came home, they hit him and stripped him naked. Again, Anand was met with the same fate as his parents as he too was strangled to death by the gang. After the killings, the gang took away a lot of jewellery, thousand of rupees in cash and an expensive watch.[2]

V. Yashomati Bafna (November 1976)

The group had now targeted a famous personality of Pune, by the name of Yashomati Bafna. She resided in a massive bungalow situated in the Shankarseth Road area of Pune. While attempting to sneak into her house, they were incidentally caught by the guards who ended up thrashing them and shooing them away. Yet again, this attempt of theirs’ went to vain.

VI. The Abhyankars (December 1976)

The very same year, on the first day of December, the gang pulled an infamous attack that ended up taking the life of 5 members of the same family. This time, they had laid their eyes on Smriti Bungalow, a famous premise in the Bhandarkar Road area of Pune of the well-known Sanskrit Scholar – Kashinath Shastri Abyankar.[3]

Abhyankar, who was 80, at that night was there with his wife Indira Bai (76), their house help Sakubai Wagh (60), their granddaughter Jui (20) and finally their grandson Dhananjay (19). At the time of the mishappening, Kashinath’s son Gajanan had gone out with his wife, Hirabai, for dinner.

They planned the murder in a very schemed manner. They started by ringing the bell where they were greeted by Dhananjay, who opened the door. They then gagged him with a cotton ball so that no one else could listen to his cries. After that, they tied him and directed him to lead them inside the house.

After that, they ended up killing each and every person present in the house in their own peculiar way – by stuffing cotton inside their mouth and strangling them with a nylon rope. To add agony to the incident, the granddaughter Jui was stripped naked, exploited and told to move around the house without clothes and show them where the expensive belongings were kept.

After that, they ended killing her too. After an hour, when the couple returned from dinner, they saw something that shook their world. They saw their family, who they had left a couple of hours ago, now lying dead in a miserable state. Upon this discovery, they immediately called the police.

After what happened at Smriti Bungalow, the entire city of Pune came to a standstill. People were scared and frightened for their lives. People stopped stepping out of their houses after dark and all the night shows in cinema halls became empty. Even a special police team was deployed at night to keep a check and track down this notorious group.

VII. The Last Dance – Anil Gokhale[4]

The last attempt was made on Anil Gokhale, in March 1977. Anil was the brother of their old classmate Jayant Gokhale. On the day of the killing, Anil had planned a meeting with his brother at Alka Talkies.

One member of the group offered him a ride and instead took him to an old shed where again, he was gagged and strangled to death. After the killing, he was tied to a ladder and thrown in the river Mula-Mutha. After some time, his body resurfaced and police knew upon looking at the modus operandi that it was the same gang.

VIII. The Investigation

After being caught by the police, during interrogations, every one of the four ended up recounting various stories to the police in regards to their whereabouts of the past week. Various individuals they knew, including a colleague of the culprits’ Satish Gore, uncovered the area where the body of Prakash Hegde (the first murder) along with the subtleties of his murder during his cross-examination.[5]

The group’s associate to Prakash Hegde’s murder, Suhas Chandak, likewise uncovered data about Hegde’s murder to the police. The four were sentenced to death by the Pune Sessions Court.

Despite the fact that they attempted to appeal to the Bombay High Court, the Supreme Court of India, and surprisingly requested a Presidential pardon, nothing worked out in their support. The four murderers were hanged in Yerwada Central Jail on 27th November 1983.

At the point when it was uncovered that the inhuman murderers were attempting to escape from their sentence, the Punekars (the people of Pune) stood firm. Shedding to the side each boundary of the local area and political belief system, they held hands and around 1000 Punekars endorsed on a joint note tending to the Supreme Court in Delhi. This demonstrated instrumental in the murderers not getting their case reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Be that as it may, the case actually delayed on the grounds that the gang kept the jury diverting with a few generosities, including their will for organ donation and other religious causes.[6]

IX. The Death Sentence[7]

After the sentence was delivered and looking at the enraged crowd of Pune, the group demanded that they be sentenced to death by the way of getting electrocuted by an electric chair instead of being hanged to death.

Once again, the people of Pune took matters into their own hands and gathered the signatures of the ten leading doctors of the nation, who signed on the affidavit acknowledging that death by hanging is the least painful and least gruesome as compared to any other way of terminal death. After a long battle of six and a half years, they were finally hanged to death and the case was closed.


References

[1] Chandawarkar, Rahul (6 September 1998). “The Evil and the Dead”. Mid-Day. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011.

[2] Chandawarkar, Rahul (9 November 2001). “How to catch a serial killer”. The Times of India. Retrieved 28 November 2018

[3] “Munawar Harun Shah v. (Original A-4) | Supreme Court Of India”. Available Here. Retrieved 11 September 2020.

[4] “पुण्यावर झालेले आघात; आजही ताज्या आहेत त्या जखमा, ज्याने शहराचा चेहरामोहराच बदलला | LatestLY मराठी” (in Marathi). 26 January 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2020.

[5] Mahindroo, Vaiju (31 January 1977). “Dashmi nights terror: Poona city in grip of panic after gruesome murders of two families”. India Today. Retrieved 14 January 2020.

[6] “Joshi-Abhyankar Serial Murder case”.

[7] Martins, Reena (11 January 2006). “Body of evidence”. Telegraph India. Retrieved 14 January 2020.


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Updated On 2021-12-22T12:58:01+05:30
Antariksh Anant

Antariksh Anant

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