Wai, a pleasing town in the foothills of Mahabaleshwar, just 175 kms from Mumbai, known as a favorite locale for Bollywood crews, was rocked by news of serial killings on Tuesday. Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ could only be compared with that incident, where one insane motel-owner killed his clients. Or, Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Monsieur Verdu’ in which the smoothie fashionable gentleman who flirts with rich widows and at the end buried them in the garden of his own house then he cultivates rose on the land.
A probe into the disappearance of an anganwadi teacher in the region had put police on the trail of a fake doctor and eventually uncovered six murders committed by the same man over 13 years.
The 41 years old Santosh Pol, a electropath by profession of Wai town told police after his arrest that not only had he murdered the teacher by injecting her with a lethal drug, he had similarly killed five others. The body of the teacher Mangal Jedhe (49), as well as the skeletal remains of three others had been exhumed from behind Pol’s poultry farm at Dhom village, 9km from Wai town. Police also arrested Jyoti Mandhare for helping him in the crime.
He said that he murdered Mangal Jedha after she allegedly threatened to spill the beans on his many illicit relationships. She left home on June 15 for Yerawada in Pune to visit her daughter, who had just delivered a baby. He forcefully took Mangal to his poultry farm and injected her with a neuro-muscular paralytic drug and she died immediately due to respiratory failure.
Pol posed as a doctor and worked for a while at the reputable Ghotavadekar Hospital in Wai. Vidyadhar Ghotavadekar of the hospital said he terminated Santosh Pol’s services after he became a nuisance. “Pol used to threaten people with ACB cases,” he added.
Pol’s earlier 5 victims, who were residence of Wai, were killed between May 20, 2003 and June 15, 2006. They are Surekha Chikne, Vanita Gaikwad, Jagabai Pol, Nathmal Bhandari and Salma Shaikh.
Pol killed them for their cash and gold ornaments after emotionally blackmailing them. After each murder, he would summon a JCB excavator to dig the ground behind his farm on the pretext of planting coconut trees. He would later bury the bodies in the pits that were created. He has been remanded in police custody till August 19.
Pol is married and has two sons and a daughter. The police said he holds a Bachelor of Electrohomeopathy Medicine and Surgery (BEMS) degree.