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‘Stoneman’ of Sagar, Madhya Pradesh: A Serial Killer Who Kills Sleeping Watchmen at Night

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For the last week of August 2022, the whole town of Sagar in Madhya Pradesh was in a panic after the news about continuous three murders spreaded vigrously in the city. The three victims were the residents of Sagar and were working as watchmen/security guards at different places in Sagar. 

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The modus operandi of the three murders was same, as all the victims were killed by attacks on their heads when they were found sleeping at their respective working places during night. The weapon used for the murders were either hammar or spade or stone.

All the murders were conducted between 28 August 2022 to 1 September 2022. Since 30th August, 10 teams of 25 police members and 5 people from cyber cell were searching for the accused, when a CCTV footage captured him.

With the help of the footage the police was able to make a suspect sketch which was released in the media. The police also announced a reward of ₹30,000 for information leading to his arrest.

Finally the accused was arrested from the State capital Bhopal on Friday, 2 September 2022. The killer is identified as Shivprasad Dhurve (19 years old), a resident of Kainkra village, Sagar. Police came to know about him through the surveillance of the mobile of one of his earlier victims (which Dhruve took with him).

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He was arrested from a bus stand in the Koh-e-fiza area of Bhopal at around 3.30 am. Just after the arrest, he said, “Ek or nipta dia (killed one more)”. He confessed that he had killed 6 security guards in the last few years. 

Police said Dhruve first got into trouble as a juvenile, in 2018, in Pune, where he attacked the owner of a restaurant where he worked as a waiter. He then went to Goa and waited at some restaurants there. He returned to Sagar last month after losing his job, according to Vikram Singh Kushwaha, additional superintendent of police, Sagar.

On Thursday night, Dhruve came to the state capital and killed a guard he found sleeping in a marble godown in Bairagarh area. After this incident he got arrested by the police. 

After reaching Sagar, Dhurve committed the first murder on 28 August when he killed Kalyan Lodhi, 57, who was posted as a watchman at a garage in Bhainsa village in Sagar. He saw Lodhi sleeping at around 1 am and smashed his head with a hammer, which he found in the factory.

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He took Lodhi’s mobile phone with him. The same night, he beat up a security guard of a hotel in the army cantonment area. Next day, when roaming in town he saw Shambhu Saran Dubey, 60, sleeping on duty at a government college at around 1.30 Pm. He smashed his head in with stone. He left the mobile phone of Lodhi near Dubey’s body and took Dubey’s phone with him.

When the news of the murders spread in the city, Dhurve felt excited and believed that killing is a good way to become ‘famous’ and on August 31, he killed Mangal Ahirwar, 45, a watchman at an under-construction building in Sagar who died in a Bhopal hospital.

After the police started the search and announced the reward, Dhruve left for Bhopal. He was roaming the Bairagarh area where he spotted a security guard Sonu Verma, 27, who was sleeping in a marble godown. Dhruve again smashed his head with a marble slab.

In initial interrogations Dhurve told the police that he was inspired by the movie KGF’s ‘Rocky Bhai’ and had plans to raise funds, become a gangster and target policemen in the future. In fact he was smiling all through his questioning and claimed he did not like to see people sleeping while on work; as told by the Sagar additional Superintendent of Police Vikram Singh Kushwaha.

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A security guard, Hallu Sahu, deployed at a showroom near Tehsil area in Sagar recalled that he met Dhruve twice on the night of August 30. “I was lying on a bed. He asked for a bidi, and I shared it with him. He was talking normally and said “I hate those who sleep at night”. I am alive because I was not sleeping that night,” he said.

Dhurve is the youngest of the four siblings of Sita Rani, and Nanheveer, lives in a two-room house in Kainkra village. They told the police that Dhurve left the home at 15 for Maharashtra to earn money and in four years, he didn’t give any money to his family. His mother and eldest sister said that he was always a problematic and spoiled child.

The Madhya Pradesh director general of police Sudhir Saxena said the accused is mentally stable and described the killings as “cold-blooded murders”.

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