The main accused Mahesh Pongulekar (35) in the kidnapping case of real estate agent Dudhnath Verma was arrested on Sunday from a resort in Karnala,near Panvel. The agent was also allegedly subjected to an acid attack by his kidnappers.
Pongulekar had been absconding for a month. Police said it was on his demands that Verma was kidnapped and his face disfigured with acid on June 18.
Around 6 pm on the day,unidentified people scheduled a meeting with Verma on the pretext of purchasing a Mira Road flat. When he reached the spot,Verma was allegedly forced into a car and taken to a forested area near Mira Road,after which acid was thrown on his face. An injured Verma was thrown out of the car at a deserted location.
Pongulekar,who is allegedly a local office bearer of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and director of PM Developers,allegedly contracted six people to attack Verma over a property dispute. These six men,according to investigators,kidnapped him in Goregoan (E).
After receiving a tip-off about his whereabouts,officers of the Vanrai police station arrested him from Karnala. He was produced at a holiday court on Sunday at the Bandra metropolitan magistartes court and was remanded to police custody till Monday,when he will be produced before a regular court.
The six other accused arrested on July 15 were identified as Mukesh Rikame,Balkrishna Swami,Vikas Gidhe,Vikas Shrivastav,Sandip More and Manohar Kishor Patel. They confessed in police custody during interrogation that Pongulekar had hired them to kidnap Verma.
Police arrested Pongulekar under Section 307 (attempt to murder),363 (punishment for kidnapping),394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery),324(voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons),506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
Senior Police Inspector Suresh Shinde said,The accused was arrested on Saturday and was produced in a holiday court. On interrogating those arrested earlier,we found out about the main accused.