The probe into a case, in which a trader was kidnapped and released a day later, has led Pimpri Chinchwad police to unravel the plot masterminded by a serving police constable. Trained in advanced cyber investigation and mobile forensics, the constable used information obtained during his posting with Cyber crime cell in Pune that the trader was in possession of large amounts of cryptocurrency and decided to kidnap him, the police have said.
The sleuths from Wakad police station under the Pimpri Chinchwad police have arrested eight persons including six from Mumbai and constable Dilip Khandare posted at headquarters of Pimpri Chinchwad police, during the probe that went on for the last two weeks.
On November 14 last year, a man had approached the Wakad police saying that his 40-year-old friend, a trader in share market equities, had been kidnapped when he was at a hotel in the Tathawade area. Two separate teams of the investigators were formed to work on various clues available in the case.
One of the teams obtained crucial leads from analysis of the electronic clues including the footage of the security cameras in the area. However the kidnappers released the trader and dropped him in the Wakad area on November 15. The trader later revealed to the police that he was kidnapped for ransom in the form of bitcoin cryptocurrency and also eight lakh rupees in cash.
Working on additional leads given by the trader, the police initially arrested four persons from Mumbai identified as Sunil Shinde, Vasant Chavan, Francis D’Souza and Mayur Shirke. Their interrogation revealed that they had acted at the behest of two persons from Pune, Pradeep Kate and Dilip Khandare. Probe revealed involvement of two more persons from Mumbai.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Anand Bhoite said, “After the initial arrests, the investigation team arrested three more persons identified as Pradeep Kate, Sanjay Bansal and Shirish Khot from a hotel in Hinjewadi area. Our probe further revealed that Khandare had masterminded the plan to kidnap the trader. Khandare is currently posted at the Pimpri Chinchwad police headquarters but has not reported to duty for some time. He was suspected in the past for unbecoming conduct but his suspension was later revoked.”
DCP Bhoite added, “We formed a separate team to nab Khandare and he was placed under arrest from Bhosari area during the probe. Khandare has received in-service training for advanced cyber crime detection, networking and mobile forensics. When he was posted with the Cyber crime cell in Pune, he had gathered information that the trader was in possession of large amounts in cryptocurrency and thus hatched the conspiracy to kidnap him for ransom. The ransom demand was made to the abductee himself after the kidnapping on November 14. The eight suspects met at a hotel in Vadgaon Maval to decide on how to execute the plan and then kidnapped the trader from a hotel in Tathawade. They took him to Alibag. But Khandare may have sensed that we were zeroing down on them, and they decided to release the abductee.”
Bhoite said, “Because this was a well predetermined planned act, we have additionally invoked the Indian Penal Code section 120B pertaining to criminal conspiracy.”