The anti-extortion cell (AEC) of the Mumbai crime branch has arrested three people, including a builder, for setting up a contract of Rs 50 crore to kill Dahisar MLA Pravin Darekar of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
According to the police, the MLA had intervened in an SRA project in Dahisar, after which a builder planned to eliminate him. However, before the plan could be set into action, Darekar was tipped off, and he informed the cops.
Atul Amrutlal Pandya (48), a builder, Nitin Naik (35) and Mahesh Wagela (26) were arrested by the AEC for arranging a contract to kill Darekar. According to the police, Darekar’s nephew Manish Vichare had got a call on July 24 from an international number.
The caller identified himself as John Nair, and said that he was speaking from London.
Nair told Vichare he wanted to talk to Darekar personally. But as the latter was in the Assembly, he was unavailable at the time.
“Later, Nair told Vichare that he had got a supari of Rs 50 crore from a builder to kill Darekar, but as he did not want to get involved, he was alerting the MLA,” said a police officer from the Crime Branch.
In the nick of time
Darekar then approached Joint Commissioner of police (Crime) Himanshu Roy, and registered a complaint.
“I had objected to an SRA project in Borivli (E) and had held two to three public meetings, which Pandya and Nair were not happy about. Pandya wanted to get rid of me,” said Darekar.
Darekar later got a call from Nair, when the latter told him that it was not possible to speak over the phone, and that he would provide Darekar information if he was paid a sum of Rs 5 lakh as reward. Darekar then informed the police, who set a trap.
“We managed to arrest Nitin Naik when he came to collect the money. Later, we arrested Atul Pandya and Mahesh Wagela and are now interrogating them,” said a police officer.
However, Nair, who is also wanted in the matter, claimed he is a hotelier in Europe and handles property litigation business in India. “Naik and Wagela work for my litigation firm, and I alerted Darekar as his life was in danger,” Nair told MiD DAY in a telephonic conversation.