Five persons, including an Ahmednagar-based “notorious gangster”, were arrested by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch on Wednesday for allegedly abducting a city-based businessman from Dindoshi.
Police said that the main accused in the case, Pradeep Sarode (34), has claimed that the businessman, Rakesh Pandey (45), had taken money from his father and did not return it, due to which they allegedly abducted him to threaten him.
A team from Unit XII of the Crime Branch and the Dindoshi police have both been investigating the matter. Following the arrests, the Crime Branch has handed over the five accused to the Dindoshi police.
Sarode, who has over 10 cases registered against him, fought as an Independent candidate in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Ahmednagar’s Shirdi and secured 15,000 votes, said police. Pandey, too, has criminal cases registered against him, including some on the charge of cheating, they added.
An officer said that on Sunday evening, when Pandey stepped out of his four-wheeler near Dindoshi bus depot, he was apprehended by three men in masks. They forced him into their vehicle and fled. A local resident who witnessed this called up the police control room and eventually, an FIR on charges of kidnapping was registered against unidentified persons on Monday, the officer added.
“By then, Pandey, who had been taken to Nashik forcibly, was allowed to go. After he returned home, Pandey told the police that he did not know who those men were,” the officer said.
After going through CCTV camera footage of the area from where Pandey was abducted, the police identified Sarode. Following this, teams were sent to Navi Mumbai, Thane and Ahmednagar to look for the accused. While Sarode was arrested from Ahmednagar, four others were picked up from Thane.
“Sarode said his father had given Pandey around Rs 1 crore for some work. He neither finished the work nor returned the money. Hence, they decided to abduct Pandey to threaten him to return the amount,” said Inspector Mahesh Tawde of the Crime Branch.
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