It took 36 hours and more than 600 kilometres for Mumbai Police to figure out that the men who had “kidnapped” a hotel manager were real policemen and weren’t faking an abduction. Mumbai Police had initially registered a kidnapping case against unknown people but after learning that the “kidnappers” are posted with Karnataka Police, it will move to quash the FIR.
At around 12.35 am on Saturday, Mumbai Police control room was informed about an “abduction”. Four men walked into a hotel in Andheri, identified themselves as policemen and hustled out manager Prabhakar Mulya, bundled him into a car and sped away.
“The four claimed that they were police officials from Karnataka. They forced him to sit in a car and took him away. The hotel staffer who witnessed the incident informed the hotel owner, who then called the control room following which we were informed,” said an officer from MIDC police station.
In order to make a breakthrough, Mumbai Police called on Mulya’s mobile number, which was answered by one of the four “kidnappers” and said that they were from Karnataka Police. They said he would be produced in Dharwad court and disconnected. “As the phone was switched off after that, we thought that the accused impersonating as policemen had abducted him for ransom, so we registered a case of kidnapping and simultaneously passed on the information to other police stations,” an officer added.
Police then started scrutinising his call data record and CCTV footage. Police stations at the exit points of Mumbai were especially tasked with the job of spotting a suspicious Maruti swift.
“Check nakas were strengthened. A few hours later, we got information that the vehicle carrying Mulya had passed Khalapur toll naka. Simultaneously, a team along with the hotel owner was dispatched towards the toll naka, during which the owner dialled Mulya’s number, which was again answered by an unknown person, who said that they were taking him to Dharwad court,” an officer said.
The police team then started moving towards Karnataka and on reaching Dharwad, they approached Dharwad town police. Mumbai Police asked them to check if there was a warrant against Mulya. While Dharwad town police were checking with the local courts and police station, the team decided to visit Dharwad court, where Mulya was spotted at 2.25 pm on Sunday. “We immediately went up to him to inquire and were informed that he was arrested by Dharwad police in a cheque bounce case,” an officer said.
Four years ago, one Jagdish Gangana lodged a case of cheating against him after he was duped of Rs 2 lakh. Dharwad court had earlier issued a bailable warrant but recently it issued another non-bailable warrant, following which he was traced in Andheri on the basis of his call detail record, said an official from Dharwad rural police station. Police sub-inspector Anand of Dharwad police station said, “Gangana has lodged a case of negotiable instrument case against him. So after we received the non-bailable warrant a fortnight ago, a team was sent to Mumbai.” However, Mumbai Police said there was confusion as Karnataka Police had not followed the standard operating procedure of informing the local police. “They are supposed to inform the local police after nabbing a person but as they didn’t, it led to confusion,” said an officer.
Deputy Commissioner of Police R N Reddy (zone X) confirmed the incident and said, “We will soon file C-Summary in court” to get the FIR quashed.