Forty eight-year-old businessman from Pune who came into the limelight four years ago when he gifted himself a Rs. 1.27 crore shirt made of gold was allegedly beaten to death with stones in the presence of his son early Friday morning.
Datta 'Gold Man' Phuge, the businessman, was reportedly dragged out of his car by a dozen men who hit him with a sickle and then beat him to death using stones before fleeing from the crime scene. However, the perpetrators spared his 22-year-old son.
Four people were arrested in connection with the case including Phuge's nephew. The police said that dispute over financial matters could be the motive behind his murder.
One of the suspects had invited the business man and his son for a birthday celebration.
Police officials were quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying that Phuge had started a chit fund to collect money from several investors, many of whom had complained of financial irregularities. So they could be responsible for his murder. Phuge also had many criminal cases against him accusing him of financial bungling.
The businessman, who is a member of Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), aspired to stand for the assembly elections and also got involved in brawls with some investors, according to the police.
Seema, his wife and a former NCP corporator, said that some people had come to their house on Thursday night and asked Phuge to accompany them. "After taking my husband to Bharatmata Nagar in Dighi, they attacked him with stones and sharp weapons," she was quoted by HT as saying.
Phuge first shot into the limelight after he was seen wearing a shirt made entirely of gold. The 22-carat gold shirt weighed 3.5 kg and was worth Rs. 1.27 crore. It consisted of Swarovski crystal buttons along with a gold belt and was made by 15 workers from Bengal, NDTV reported.