A criminal, suspected to be involved in the murders of an RTI activist and a BJP leader, and his associate were killed allegedly in a gunbattle with police on the outskirts of the city this morning. The criminal, Shyam Dabhade, was a suspect in RTI activist Satish Shetty murder case of 2010 and also a prime suspect in the murder of 38-year-old local BJP leader Sachin Shelke. Shelke was hacked to death last month in broad daylight in Talegaon Dabhade, about 35 kms from here. "Our local crime branch officials received a tip-off that Dabhade and his aide Dhananjay Shinde were hiding in the forest near Chakan," Superintendent of Police Jay Jadhav said. "After conducting combing operation for the whole night, Dabhade and his aide were located near windmills close to Varsai and they were asked to surrender by our four teams headed by senior police inspector Ram Jadhav," he said. However, instead of surrendering, the duo fired eight rounds at the police teams and in retaliation, the policemen too fired five rounds. "In the retaliatory fire, both were injured seriously and taken to Chakan rural hospital where they were declared brought dead," the SP said. Dabhade, against whom several cases of extortion, murder and attempt to murder were lodged in the district, was the prime suspect in Shelke murder case as he and his men were spotted in one of the CCTV footages near the murder site, police said. Subsequently, a manhunt was launched to trace Dabhade and his accomplices, police added.
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