A 50-year-old land developer and his employee were abducted by four men allegedly at the behest of a property dealer last week. The abductors asked the developer Sanjay Muchala for a ransom of Rs 60 lakh, as he had earlier taken a loan of Rs 13.5 lakh from the accused property dealer Deepak Bhatkar to buy a plot in Boisar. Bhatkar demanded that he either pay up or give up his land worth Rs 1.5 crore.
According to Muchala, he was on his way to Boisar from his Goregaon (East) residence on April 9 along with his employee Farooq Shaikh (20). The two were near Vasai when a Scorpio car intercepted them. “Four men got out of the car and began assaulting me. They then shoved us inside the car and drove towards Palghar,” Muchala said.
“They took me to an empty room in Boisar and beat me up, asking for Rs 60 lakh. I told them that I had taken only Rs 13.5 lakh from Deepak but they did not listen. Later that night, Deepak came to the room and assaulted me, asking me to pay up or give him the plot as security until I repay him,” Muchala said. “They took my cell phone, ATM card and money. The next day, they asked me to call my wife as the property papers had her name too.”
On April 10, when Muchala’s wife arrived near Boisar police station as per the kidnapper’s instructions, they were taken to an office near the police station and forced to sign property papers transferring the plot to Deepak. “When my wife refused to sign, they took me to the registrar’s office and made me sign the papers, threatening me that if I alerted the registrar they would kill my wife. They let us go after I signed the papers,” Muchala said.
Muchala approached the Valiv police and registered a complaint against Deepak Bhatkar and another person Sanjay Birje. “We have registered the case based on Muchala’s account and are looking for Deepak and Sanjay Birje,” said S Mohite, senior inspector of Valiv police station.