Escaped accused in Tikku murder case caught

Mumbai: Vijay Palande, prime accused in the Arun Tikku murder case, who fled police custody Tuesday night, was caught again early Wednesday, an official said.

Palande, one of the accused in the case along with Dhananjay Shinde, Manoj Gajkosh and small-time actor Anuj Tikku (son of the victim), were detained for the killing of Delhi-based businessman Arun Tikku (67) in Mumbai last Saturday, from different parts of the state.

However, in a major embarrassment, Palande Tuesday night escaped from police custody hours after he was arrested by the Mumbai police from Satara in western Maharashtra.

Police sealed all exit points and launched a manhunt for Palande and finally succeeded in catching him again from the western suburbs, around 2 a.m., the official said, declining to give details.

Palande reportedly jumped over a compound wall and fled when he was being shifted from a vehicle to the crime branch lock-up in Andheri east.

It is not clear if Palande was tied, handcuffed or his face covered at the time of the incident and whether other protocols were followed, or why the cops accompanying him did not give a chase as he fled.

A top official said that the trio, who had links with the mafia don Santosh Shetty gang, shall be presented before the court Wednesday.

Palande, a businessman engaged in import-export of garments, is married to a German woman, who had gone to her home country for some work when the murder was committed. He had come in contact with Shetty during his business trips to Bangkok, the official said.

Top police officials are expected to make a formal statement with regard to Palande incident, perceived as a serious security lapse, later in the day.