Residents of a Mira Road building helped an abducted builder flee from his captor last Sunday after spending almost a day in captivity. Five of the kidnappers have been arrested and the police are looking for at least three others.
Those arrested have been identified as Mohammad Wasim Ahmad (31), Noor Maksood Khan (24), Mohammad Akib Shaikh (20), Faisal Abdul Khan (24) and Dolly Gaikwad (37).
The builder, Bhaveshbhai Savani (38), stays in Surat and visits Mira Road frequently for business. On December 1, just as Savani parked his Hyundai Creta car outside the gates of his housing society around 1 am, he was beckoned by a man seated in a parked Maruti Suzuki Baleno. The man, the police claimed, told Savani that his companion wanted to speak to him. As Savani approached the car, four men got out, one of them held a knife to his stomach, took away his cellphnone and ordered him to get inside the car.
Savani, the police said, was blindfolded and driven to a flat in Vasai, where five men and three women were present. The kidnappers allegedly tied up his hands and feet, assaulted him and demanded Rs 1 crore. “The kidnappers threatened to kill Savani if he did not pay up and also threatened to kill his daughter if he complained to the police,” said a police officer.
Savani told the kidnappers that he could pay them only Rs 10 lakh at the moment and needed to contact a friend in Kandivali for this. The police said the kidnappers allowed him to contact his friend and arrange for a meeting with them later that day. The kidnappers, however, insisted on being paid at least Rs 50 lakh.
Assistant Inspector Satish Nikam of Naya Nagar police said the kidnappers made Savani sign on a stamp paper on which they had written that he would hand over his car to them if he was unable to pay them Rs 1 crore. In his complaint, Savani also alleged that the kidnappers forced him to sign on a transfer of ownership form.
The kidnappers accompanied Savani to meet his friend at Kandivali, but came to know that the money could not be withdrawn as banks were shut on Sunday. The kidnappers then drove Savani to his home on Mira Road and told him to hand over whatever cash he had.
Accompanied by a kidnapper, who waited at the lobby of the building, Savani went home and returned with Rs 1.75 lakh, two signed cheques of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 3 lakh, a couple of blank signed cheques and ownership documents of his car, the police said.
The kidnapper then returned Savani’s phone. Savani told the man that he could go to a friend’s home and borrow Rs 1 lakh more. When the man agreed, Savani climbed up again and managed to alert a couple of his neighbours, who accompanied him to meet the kidnapper. The man fled seeing them, the police said.
Savani the went to Naya Nagar police to register a complaint.
The police checked CCTV footage of the building and the area and found the kidnappers’ car as it entered and exited the toll plaza between Mumbai and Thane rural district. Using call data records of the cellphones used by the kidnappers, the police reached the flat where Savani was held captive and found four men and a woman, who owned the premises. “The woman owns a ground-plus-one house and rented out the upper floor flat to the kidnappers. She was aware that the builder had been detained there,” said Nikam. The arrested men live in Sion, Vasai and Aurangabad and are unemployed, Nikam said.
However, those who planned the kidnapping are at large, the police said. “We are yet to find the people who identified the builder as a target and knew that he owns properties in Gujarat and Mumbai. Those arrested had followed the complainant around for days to know his daily movement,” said Nikam.
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