Gujarat: 2 Gondal councillors held for ‘beating cook to death’ in a factory

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Police said along with the councillor duo, their friend Ashok Raiyani was also arrested. (Representational Image)

Two councillors of Gondal municipality have been arrested for allegedly beating a cook to death inside a factory in Bharudi village near Gondal town and have been remanded to police custody, police said on Sunday. With this, the number of arrests in the case have gone up to six.

Acting on a tip off, police picked up Ravi Kalariya, a councillor of the BJP-ruled Gondal municipality around 11 pm on Friday. “He was waiting for a bus when our team nabbed him. Rokad was arrested from Gundala chowkadi on the outskirts of Gondal town late on Saturday. The duo were produced in court and we got their two-day remand,” Ajaysinh Jadeja, sub-inspector of Gondal Taluka police, said.

Police said along with the councillor duo, their friend Ashok Raiyani was also arrested. Police had arrested Akshan Chowatiya alias Bhano, Vinod Dharaiya and Ashish Tilwa on Friday. While Chowatiya is the contractor who runs the canteen in the Pentagon Forge and Machine Limited (PFML), Dharaiya is one of the directors of the company. Tilwa is an employee of the PFML.

According to police, the victim, Shankar Ram, was a cook in the canteen of the factory. Suspecting that he committed a theft on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, the accused beat up the cook. Ram died while waiting for a bus to go back home in Rajasthan on Thursday evening, they said.

“Rokad alias Faurji is the security incharge at the Pantagon Forge and Machine Limited (PFML), while Kalariya is the relative of Vinod Dharaiiya, one of the eight owners of the factory. Suspecting that the cook, Shankar Ram, committed theft, the other accused beat up the cook. Later on, they informed Kalariya and Rokad who also beat him up. All the accused claimed that Ram attempted theft in the factory and that they thrashed him to ‘teach him a lesson’. However, till date, we have not received any complaint of theft or attempted theft either from the factory or the accused,” Jadeja, investigating officer of the case, added.

Another cook who saw Ram being beaten up filed a complaint with Gondal taluka police station. Police said after the assault, the accused asked the cook’s relatives to send him to Rajasthan. Accordingly, two relatives took Ram on their bike and dropped him on National Highway 27. “The victim drank water soon after the brutal attack... After drinking water, he became uneasy and tried to walk away from the highway when he collapsed and died,” added Jadeja. Police said the victim was around 35 years old.

While Kalariya is chairman of lighting committee of the Gondal Municipality, Rokad is councillor of Rashtra Vikas Jumbesh Party (RVJP), the main Opposition party in Gondal municipality. Ravi was also elected on ticket of RVJP but defected to the BJP around a year ago.