He accompanied a van selling books on Hindu and Vedic cultures a couple of times in a year. This is how the residents of Akshay Plaza in Manik Colony on Pimpri Chinchwad Link Road described Kale, one of the three suspects arrested from the Goa-Karnataka border on May 21.
“We can’t believe that such a simple man with a simple lifestyle can be involved in a heinous crime,” said a resident of Akshay Plaza in Chinchwad, where Kale has a flat.
TOI on Saturday afternoon visited Kale’s residence. His wife, Jagruti, opened the door but refused to comment on the development. “I don’t want to talk,” she said after asking for the identity proof of the reporter.
Akshay Plaza is a modest four-storeyed building without elevators. Its staircase is congested. All its residents belong to the middle class.
The residents claimed that a police team visited the Akshay Plaza building a few days ago. “They (police) asked for Kale’s address. We don’t know what happened after that,” another resident said.
The Kale family stays in a small apartment on the first floor. According to his neighbours, who refused to be identified, Kale stays with his wife, elderly mother and a five-year-old son. His father passed away about six months ago. “His son goes to a nearby pre-primary school and the couple follow a very simple lifestyle,” a neighbour said.
A resident of Manik Colony told TOI, “The family is staying in the apartment for the past 15-18 years. His father ran a paan (betel) shop in the Pimpri Camp area,” he said.
He said, “Kale and his wife hardly interacted with the residents of the colony and maintained privacy. Kale used to remain out of the city most of the time and visited home sporadically.”
Another resident said, “Kale has done some diploma course. He is not employed and supplies some minor mechanical parts to companies.”
The neighbour said a van selling books visited the locality a couple of times in a year and Kale accompanied it. The van, which Kale used to refer to as a library, used to sell books on Hindu and Vedic cultures, he said.
“We don’t know if he was affiliated to any right-wing group or organisation. But he always talked about Sanatan Dharma and its way of life,” the neighbour said.
An elderly resident of the society said Kale was about 48-year-old, his wife was around 40 and his mother was in 70s. “Kale Kaku (aunty), as his mother is called, is very simple. Though not much educated, she interacts with everyone from the society with warmth,” a resident said.
Deputy commissioner of police (Zone III) Ganesh Shinde, said, “Kale was detained in an attempt to murder case on May 21. Subsequently, a team of Karnataka police came to Pimpri Chinchwad on May 23. Its members wanted to search his residence and our team accompanied them (Karnataka police). They seized something from his house, but we do not have any details.”
Shinde said the city police did not have any record of Kale. “Our team on Saturday visited his residence just to ensure that there was no untoward incident,” he said.
“Kale supplies some engineering products to small companies based in Pimpri Chinchwad,” he added.