Sleepy town of Wai rattled after doctor found be serial killer
Wai (Maha), August 17: Shock and panic has gripped this small, sleepy town of Satara, known for its picturesque and historical locations, after it emerged that one of their residents Dr Santosh Pol is a serial killer.
42-year-old Pol, in a chilling confession, admitted to have killed at least six people, including five women between 2003 and 2016.
Bemused locals, after Pol’s arrest and subsequent recovery of five bodies including that of an anganwadi worker Mangala Jedhe from his farmhouse here, tell of shock but are now lauding police for apprehending him.
Large ‘congratulatory’ hoardings line the roads in and around the town with residents breathing a sigh of relief that a serial killer, who silently lived on their doorsteps, has been exposed.
“Our town is known for all the good reasons, its beautiful locales, film shoots. However, this man has brought infamy to our town across the nation and should be hanged till death,” said an angry Kishor Rahate, a paan vendor who lives just metres away from Pol’s residence here.
Echoing Rahate, Dipak Oswal, a relative of one of the victims, Nathmal Bhandari, said that people from the film industry frequent the place for shootings but now these mass murders have brought disrepute to this otherwise nondescript town, where people live a quiet life away from urban hassles.
Police Inspector Vinayak Vetal, one of the police officials from the team which cracked the multiple murder case, said that Pol had created terror among cops here by setting up ACB traps on them.
“However, when we started investigation in connection with the missing case of Jedhe and his name cropped up, we told all our police personnel not to fall prey to any of his lures and be conscious while dealing with him. This ultimately paid off,” he said.Meanwhile, people living in Krushnai apartments in Wai, where Pol used to live with his wife and two sons, termed him as a silent man and said that they never had any verbal or physical spat with him or his family.
“He was not a menace and was never conversant with his neighbours living here. It (the murder revelation) was a great shock for us,” said Appu Shaikh, one of his neighbours.
Incidentally, Bhandari, one of the victims of Pol, dubbed as ‘Dr Death’, used to live in the same building.
According to Bhandari’s family members, the relations between him and Bhandari was cordial and they used to visit each other’s houses often.
Dr Vidyadhar Ghotawadekar, a medical practitioner, who owns a hospital in Wai, where Pol used to work till 2015, said, “He was working as an assistant with me and used to help me in things like checking blood pressure of patients, performing ECG or giving injection to the patient.”
“Pol has a BAMS degree in Electropathy and was not a medicine doctor and used to work at my hospital here between 2006 and 2015,” he said.
Ghotawadekar also recalled him as a glib talker and said that he used to blow his trumpet about his work related to Anti Corruption Bureau.
“Since his other outside activities started affecting the hospital work, my relations with him got strained and he left the job in 2015. However, later he came to me and asked for some work citing financial crisis.
“I, on humanitarian ground, helped him to buy an ambulance on instalment basis. However, he missed on his instalments and his ambulance was taken away by the bank,” said Ghotawadekar.
“Despite my help, he threatened me of dire consequences,” he said.
Meanwhile, taking cogniaance of a series of murders by Pol, Satara Police has made an appeal to the residents living in and around Dhom village to come forward and report if their family members have gone missing after visiting Pol’s clinic.
Pol is in police custody till August 19 after his arrest on August 11 for allegedly kidnapping and murdering Jedhe, president of Maharashtra Purva Prathmik Shikshika Sevika Sangh, on June 16.
According to police, Pol and his aide Jyoti Mandre, a nurse who allegedly had an illicit relationship with the accused, kidnapped Jedhe and killed her by administering a lethal dose of a medicine and buried her near the doctor’s farmhouse.
The serial killer spilled the beans on the multiple murders during interrogation in the case of 47-year-old Jedhe’s death, following which police exhumed four bodies from his farmhouse this week.
Apart from Jedhe, the other missing people, who were allegedly murdered by Pol, were — Salma Shaikh, Jagabai Pol, Surekha Chikane, Vanita Gaikwad and Nathmal Bhandari.