THE MUMBAI Police, investigating the murder of diamond merchant Rajeshwar Udani (57), on Wednesday recovered eight diamonds from his missing ring, his goldchain and pendant and a ladies watch from the Ghatkopar gym of Dinesh Pawar, suspended police constable and one of the key accused who has been arrested. The police are trying to find out who the watch belongs to.
“The recovery of articles belonging to Udani from Dinesh’s gym will act as strong evidence,” a senior police officer said.
The police on Wednesday also made one more arrest in the case: allegedly the sixth — and final — occupant of the car in which Udani is believed to have been murdered. The police identified him as Siddhesh Patil (23) from Dongri. The police have already arrested four others who were in the car, including the driver.
Patil’s arrest brings the total number of those arrested to seven, including Sachin Pawar, former personal assistant of state Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, Dinesh Pawar, Nikhat Khan (19), her aunt Shahista (41) alias Dolly, Mahesh Bhoir (31) and Praneet Bhoir.
The police said soon after Udani was murdered and his body dumped in Panvel, while three accused who were in the car dispersed, Dinesh and Nikhat drove in the same vehicle to Alibaug, where they put up for the night. “Dinesh dropped Nikhat at her Oshiwara residence the next day. So Nikhat knew about the murder but did not inform the police. Even Shahista, who had asked Nikhat to accompany the accused, had been told by Sachin they wanted to ‘honey trap’ Udani and get Rs 2 crore from him. She was promised Rs 15 lakh while Nikhat was promised Rs 5 lakh,” a senior police officer said.
A family member of Nikhat, however, said that Nikhat, who had trained at a reputed hair-styling institute in Andheri (west), was told she was going to be a part of a “prank video” where “simulation of a murder” would be shot using a hidden camera. “She was told she had to play along and not get worried as it was a prank. Later, while Nikhat suspected something amiss, she was assured by Sachin it was ‘just a video’,” the family member claimed.
The family member said Shahista, who supplied cosmetics and provided beauty treatment, was the “rakhi sister” of Sachin. “Sachin knew her well and told her they needed someone to act in a film. Both were cheated by Sachin,” the family member claimed.
The police said Sachin, who allegedly planned to ‘honeytrap’ Udani, had not accompanied the accused. He later went to the spot after none of the accused answered his calls. “A few hours after the incident, Sachin went to Panvel. However, he did not find any of the accused and returned home,” an officer said. “It appears Dinesh had a major part to play in the ‘honey trap’ and murder,” he added.