Pune: Datta D Phuge, famously known as `Gold man` in Pune, was allegedly bludgeoned to death in front of his 22-year-old son here on Thursday night.
At least 12 persons attacked the high-profile businessman at an open ground in Dighi area here at around 11:30 pm on Thursday with huge stones and a sharp weapon, killing him on the spot.
"As per preliminary information, Phuge and his son were invited by one of the suspects, who know each other, to celebrate a birthday. However, we are investigating how Phuge reached the open ground where he was murdered," Dighi police station inspector Navnath Ghogare said. Phuge's 22-year-old son, who too had reached the spot following a similar 'birthday' invitation and witnessed his father's murder, was spared by the attackers, police said.
Here are some interesting facts about `gold man` Datta Phuge:
- Datta Phuge, also known as 'Pimpri Goldman' was a millionaire money-lender.
- Phuge hogged the limelight in late 2012 after he stitched an opulent Rs 10 million (Rs one crore) 22-carat pure gold shirt which came decorated with six glittering Swarovski crystal buttons and an accompanying flashy gold belt in a matching design. At that time, his shirt was billed as 'most expensive' in the world, weighing around 3.5 kg pure gold and 'stitched' by the famous Ranka Jewellers of Pune. The "golden shirt' has over 14,000 gold flowers intertwined with 100,000-plus spangles sewn on a base of fine velvet, is described as easy and comfortable to wear like any normal clothes.
- Phuge's wife Seema is an ex-municipal corporator.
- The businessman usually moved around with armed private bodyguards, but it is not clear where they were at the time of the incident.
- Besides his primary business of lending money, he ran the Vakratund Chit Fund Pvt Ltd along with his wife and there were complaints of financial misappropriation against him in recent times.
- The motive behind the killing is not known, but police preliminary suspect it may be linked to some business rivalries and are investigating all angles.
- The police have recovered the sickle used in the crime and have sent Phuge's body for an autopsy.