A 48-year-old businessman from Pune, who shot into the limelight after buying a 'gold shirt' worth over Rs 1 crore a few years back, was allegedly bludgeoned to death in front of his son, police said on Friday.
Datta Phuge, the businessman from the industrial township of Pimpri-Chinchwad in the district, had become the talk of the town after he presented himself a 'gold shirt' weighing about 3.5 kg and worth Rs 1.27 crore in 2012.
At least 12 people attacked Phuge at an open ground in Dighi area in Pune at around 11.30 pm on Thursday night with 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.
Datta Phuge, the husband of a former corporator from Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, was into money lending and chit fund business.
Police suspect that some dispute over a money transaction could be the reason behind the gory murder. "We have detained four persons and suspect that dispute over a money transaction between them could be the motive behind his murder," said Ghogare.
In 2012, Phuge presented himself the glittering shirt made out of gold and as per the local jeweller who had crafted the piece, as many as 15 goldsmiths from Bengal had worked for 16 hours a day over a period of two weeks to make the shirt ordered by him.