Jayanti Bhanushali murder case: Former MLA Chhabil Patel arrested

Ahmedabad: The main accused and conspirator of sensational Jayanti Bhanushali murder case, Chhabil Patel was nabbed in the early hours today from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport here.

A police official said that Patel was arrested as soon as he landed here. He was living abroad from a few days before the murder of Bhanushali. A lookout notice was issued for him. There was information about his boarding the flight to India.

The SIT of CID-Crime which was doing the investigation was now interrogating him. He would be produced in a court here for taking his remand.

The SIT had earlier arrested 5 accused including two of the sharp shooters and Patel’s son Siddharth. Another main accused Manisha Goswami was still at large.

On January 24 the police had revealed that the murder of former MLA Jayanti Bhaushali in the first AC coach of a running train earlier that month was the result of a conspiracy by his political rival and ex-MLA Chhabil Patel and a lady Manisha Goswami.

Both Patel, who was ex MLA from the same Abdasa seat in Kutch and Manisha who was jailed in a case filed by Bhanushali’s nephew had serious differences and enmity with Bhanushali who was traveling from Bhuj to Ahmedabad on the day of the incident.

Chhabil Patel had helped Manisha in coming out of jail in August last year. One Surjit Bhau from Pune was also acquainted with her. A conspiracy for the murder of Bhanushali was hatched in Pune in November last year. Later, the two shooters identified as Shashikant alias Dada Wagle and Shaikh Ashraf Anwar both residents of Yerwada in Pune and others from the gang of Bhau came to Kutch and stayed in the farm house of Patel since December 25. The reiki of the activities and movement of Bhanushali was done from there.

Chhabil left for Muscat (abroad) on January 2 while Manisha remained in Kutch from January 3 to 6. On the day of murder ie the night between January 7 and 8, the two shooters boarded Sayaji Nagari express from Bhachau and after shooting Bhanushali to death in his coach H1, they later alighted from the train after pulling the chain close to Shamkhyali. Later with the help of the gang members they went towards Pune via Radhanpur. The CCTV footage of the toll points have confirmed their movement.

The two shooters had entered the AC first coach claiming to be passengers with confirmed tickets. They later knocked at the door of the cabin in which apart from Bhanushali another passenger identified as Pawan More was sleeping. Bhanushali had got some inkling that there was something wrong and had tried to resist but by that time they had entered in to the cabin and fired shots at him killing him on the spot. One mobile phone of Bhanushali was found at the spot.

Apart from CID-crime, Railway police, ATS and crime branch of Ahmedabad police were involved in the investigation of the case originally lodged at Gandhidham.

The two shooters and prior to them two persons identified as Nitin Vasant Patel and Rahul Jayanti Patel (both residents of Kutch) , who were deployed for taking care of the shooters and others at the guest house of Patel were arrested.

The only other passenger traveling with Bhanushali in the cabin Pravin More was also interrogated in detail.

Notably, Bhanushali was in trouble in July last year when a 21 year old divorced woman from Surat has made allegations of rape against him. She had however taken back her allegations following which the case was quashed at the instructions of Gujarat High Court on August 7.

Bhanushali’s Nephew Sunil who had earlier lodged complaint against Manisha (who had also levelled allegations of sexual harassment against Bhanushali) and got her jailed had lodged another FIR against her, Chhabil Patel and a few others in connection with the murder of his uncle.

Bhanushali represented Abdasa Assembly constituency in Kutch from 2007 to 2012. Patel, a Congress candidate then, had defeated him in the 2012 Assembly elections. After two years, Patel joined the BJP but lost the resultant by-poll for the seat in 2014. In 2017, the party chose Patel over Bhanushali for the Abdasa seat, but he lost to a Congress candidate. BJP had on January 25 ousted Patel, a day after his name emerged as the main conspirator in the Bhanushali murder case.

Bhanushali’s nephew alleged that Patel held his uncle responsible for his defeat in 2014 and 2017 and held a grudge against him.

He had also alleged that to end Jayanti Bhanushali’s political career, Chhabil Patel and others made a CD which showed his uncle in a compromising position with a woman.


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