The incident triggered huge protests by residents, who set the vehicle ablaze.
Two schoolgirls were killed and another student was left injured after a Shiv Sena leader's auto ran over them in Pune's Baramati town.
"There were three to four people inside the auto when the accident took place, but Mane was not inside the SUV". All the five suspects had fled the spot after the accident.
Police added that two girls died in the incident while the third survived the dash with critical injuries.
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Aron Tydén told local newspaper Expressen : 'I was at home at my computer when I heard a loud bang. "There were many shots". Police say the violence is not being treated as a terrorist attack and officers are continuing to hunt for the gunman.
The incident took place at around 7.30 am when the girls were walking on the side of the road to go to school in Kare Wagaj village on Baramati-Morgaon road in Baramati tehsil, around 115 kilometers from Pune. A group of angry locals set it on fire and resorted to a "rasta roko" (road block) to demand the driver's arrest, he said.
Police have found some suspicious objects in the vehicle, including a large knife and some tools needed for animal hunting, said sources.
The SUV which knocked down the girls is owned by local Shiv Sena leader Pappu Mane. However, police have refused to divulge whether Mane himself was driving the vehicle or travelling in it, saying that the probe was on. "We have arrested the three suspects". The local villagers managed to nab one of the occupants and handed him over to the police before beating him up.
However, Times Now reported that Mane himself was driving the vehicle and also said that apart from him, there were two other people in the auto. "I am not at liberty to reveal these details at this stage", said the police officer. Speaking to DNA, additional superintendent of police Sandeep Pakhale said, "We have summoned Mane for questioning".