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Delhi lawyer Shailendra Singh Jaat, who was arrested on May 15 in connection with the kidnapping of two Rajkot businessman 16 years ago, told police that his car — allegedly used in the crime — was destroyed in an accident.
“During questioning, the accused said he had lent his car to his cousins, Surajprakash Saheb Singh Jaat and Pradeepkumar Anar Singh Jaat, in November 2000 when the incident had taken place. He also claimed the car was reduced to scrap after a road accident in 2002-03,” said a top officer of the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), Rajkot city police.
The DCB is investigating the kidnapping of jeweller Bhaskar Parekh and his friend Paresh Shah on November 12, 2000 by suspected members of the Dubai mafia and terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, along with local Gujarat gangs.
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Officials said the group had demanded a ransom of Rs 20 crore from the families in order to fund terror activities in India.
Investigators said Parekh was taken to Delhi and confined at New Palam Vihar in Gurgaon while Shah was rescued by police from a village in Bharuch’s Walia Taluk.
After they were paid Rs 1.5 crore, the kidnappers put Parekh in a Santro and left him near a Delhi hospital on December 1, 2000.
According to the DCB, the Santro belonged to Singh. “He admitted to buying the car. But the vehicle was registered in the name of one Manish Gupta, who had financed its purchase.
However, the registration number provided by the other accused and Singh were different. We are also trying to access the car’s insurance papers,” said an officer.
Singh was arrested by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on May 15 from Delhi.
According to the DCB, Pradeepkumar and his friend Sanjay Ramchand Jaat dumped Parekh near the hospital. All three were part of the group that kidnapped the duo, said investigators.
Singh is on police remand till May 23. Aftab Ahmed Ansari, who was convicted in the 2002 terrorist attack on the American Centre in Kolkata, is among the key conspirators in the case.