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Key accused Rahul Patil, three others held in New Panvel church attack case
Tuesday March 24, 2015 8:42 PM, IANS

Four people have been nabbed in connection with the March 21 attack on a church in New Panvel, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said here on Tuesday, describing the attack as an "act of vengeance".

The main accused is 39-year-old Rahul Ramesh Patil, while the other three - Anilchandra Chavan, 27, Laxman Prasad Sugvekar, 21, and Mohammed Tabrek Sheikh, 20 - were his associates, Fadnavis said in a statement in the state legislative council.

They were arrested by Navi Mumbai police, and further investigation was underway.

The four allegedly attacked the St. George Church premises in Sector 19 of New Panvel region in Navi Mumbai around 1.30 a.m. on Saturday.

According to preliminary investigation, the attack was planned as a revenge by the prime accused, Rahul Ramesh Patil.

Some church officials had complained to police about his illegal gambling den in the vicinity which was raided by police on March 19 and then shut down.

Following this, an enraged Patil allegedly hatched a conspiracy and roped in the other three accused in carrying out the attack as an act of vendetta.

Judith Monteiro, spokesperson for the Association of Concerned Catholics, welcomed the development and said Fadnavis has lived up to his promise of nabbing the culprits within two days.

"Maharashtra Police's action will help show the way to nab the rapists of the Kolkata nun who are absconding 10 days after the incident," Monteiro said.

Abraham Mathai, president of the Indian Christian Voice, said though the police action must be appreciated, tougher measures are required to ensure such incidents do not recur.

Following the attack, security has been beefed up around major churches in and around Mumbai as important festivals like Good Friday and Easter coming up next week.

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