Mumbai crime branch launches probe into Borivali murder-suicide

One team headed is investigating the murder of Abhishek Ghosalkar, while the second is probing the “accidental” death of shooter Mauris Noronha

A screengrab from the FB live with Noronha (left) and Ghosalkar, moments before the shooting
A screengrab from the FB live with Noronha (left) and Ghosalkar, moments before the shooting

NH Digital

The Crime Branch of Mumbai police has formed two teams to probe into the sensational murder of Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Abhishek Ghosalkar during a ‘Facebook live’ by local ‘social activist’ Mauris Noronha, who then allegedly turned the gun on himself, an official said on Friday.

One team headed by an inspector-rank official is investigating the murder of Ghosalkar, while the second team is probing the “accidental” death of Noronha, he said.

The Crime Branch probe will focus on several aspects, including how Noronha got the weapon and who provided it to him, if he was under the influence of alcohol at the time, and the questioning of people who were present at the spot when Ghosalkar was fired upon, he said.

Abhishek (40), son of former MLA Vinod Ghosalkar, a loyalist of the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena, was also a former corporator. A viral video of the incident, which seemingly occurred at Noronha's office in IC Colony in the northern suburb of Borivali (West) on Thursday evening, showed Ghosalkar being shot in the abdomen and shoulder.

A senior police official earlier told PTI that Ghosalkar was hit by four bullets. Noronha, who used an illegal pistol for the crime, then shot himself once, he added.

Ghosalkar and Noronha had “personal enmity”, but the Facebook live was arranged to clarify that they had come together, ending their bitterness for the betterment of the IC Colony area, another police official said.

The MHB Colony police registered a case after the murder, while joint commissioner of police (law and order) Satya Narayan and deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Datta Nalawade visited the spot for the probe.

Late at night, the case was transferred to the Mumbai Crime Branch for further investigation, a senior police official said. The decision was taken considering the seriousness of the matter and the scope of the probe, he added.

A team from the Crime Branch also visited the crime scene along with local police, the official said. Later, joint commissioner of police (crime) Lakhmi Gautam and DCP (crime) Raj Tilak Roshan also reached the spot in connection with the investigation. The team has started the probe and is trying to gather evidence, he said.

The Crime Branch will try to ascertain from where Noronha procured the pistol, the official said. An inquiry among possible eyewitnesses during the incident is also being conducted, he said.

Police are also examining whether Noronha was under the influence of alcohol when he pumped bullets into Ghosalkar, the official said, adding that his blood samples have been collected.

Hundreds of Sena (UBT) supporters gathered outside Karuna Hospital in north Mumbai, to which Ghosalkar was rushed in critical condition after he was fired upon, and its vicinity. Accordingly, there has been heavy police deployment in the area to avoid any untoward incident, the official said.

In the early hours of Friday, Ghosalkar’s body was shifted to state-run J.J. Hospital for a post-mortem, he said.

The sensational incident comes days after BJP MLA Ganpat Gaikwad was caught on camera firing at a leader of the Shiv Sena faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde inside a police station in Ulhasnagar, Thane. The two parties are allies in the Shinde government, though the BJP MLA later said Shinde had to go if Maharashtra was to be "well managed".

Ulhasnagar falls in the Kalyan parliamentary constituency, currently represented by Shinde's son Shrikant Shinde. On Thursday, Shinde had said a probe was being launched into the latest firing incident.

With PTI inputs

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