With 12 hours in hand, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch foiled an alleged murder plot after receiving an email warning of a possible attack. The Crime Branch Unit 1 last week handed over 35-year-old Hitesh Bangari to Borivali police station, a day before he allegedly planned to murder his childhood friend Hitesh Patel (36). According to the police, Bangari plotted to kill Patel because Patel, a garment businessman, who had lent Rs 10 lakh to Bangari had started asking for repayment. While Bangari was arrested and remanded in police custody, investigators are still finding out if he meant to carry out his alleged threat or it was just loose talk. A police officer said Bangari, who is into the construction business, and Patel hail from the same villages.
Nearly four years back, Bangari’s wife allegedly committed suicide. Around the same time he also suffered some financial losses and asked Patel for some monetary help after which the latter gave him Rs 10 lakh. The police claim Bangari also took money from several others. Over the past year, Patel started asking Bangari to return the money. Bangari allegedly kept delaying it because of which the two had fights, an officer said.
The police claimed that Bangari was fed up with constantly being hounded by Patel for money. Bangari allegedly told his friends that his birthday gift to Patel would be his murder. “He confided in a few friends that he was going to murder Patel on Sunday, which was also the latter’s birthday. He further told them that he would surrender after the murder and asked his friends if they knew police procedures regarding the same,” an officer said. One of the people in the know believed that Bangari was serious about the threat and wanted to prevent the crime.
The person e-mailed Mumbai police informing them about the plot to murder Patel on his birthday. By the time the police checked the e-mail on February 10, there were hardly 12 hours left for Sunday, February 11, which was Patel’s birthday, for the alleged murder plot was to be carried out. A police team tracked down Bangari to his Ghatkopar residence February 11 and apprehended him.
An officer said they also found a knife in his house. After interrogating him, Unit 1 of the crime branch handed him over to Borivali police as Patel resides in Borivali. The Borivali police registered an FIR under section 115 (abetment of offence punishable with death) read with 302 (murder) read with 120 (concealing design to commit offence) of the Indian Penal Code.
Senior inspector of Borivali police station Gunaji Sawant said, “We presented him for the second remand on February 15 and the court granted police custody till February 19. Based on the interrogation so far, he claims he was just talking about the murder and had no plans to execute it. Investigation is on in the matter to see if he actually planned to carry out the murder or it was just loose talk.”