Police identified the arrested couple as Manish Maheshkumar Gandhi (40) and his wife Paresha (35), both residents of Krushnakunj society in Camp. They had sold the stolen baby to Naveen Dilip Gudikandula (40) and his wife Supriya (34), who reside at Balkrushna society in Balajinagar in Dhankawadi. They have also been taken into custody. Gandhi is unemployed while Naveen Gudikandula works as a manager in a hotel.
The baby, called Amarnath, has been rescued safely and admitted to Sassoon Hospital. A DNA test was conducted after which the baby was handed back to his parents, according to the court’s order on Sunday afternoon. The arrested suspects were remanded in police custody till November 7. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone II) Ramnath Pokle, inspectors Ram Pathare, Deepak Nikam, constables Yogesh Jagtap, Santosh Kshirsagar, Amol Pandey, Vitthal Patil, Shakeel Shaikh, Amjad Pathan, Nitin Telange, Vikas Bankar and Kavita Shinde carried out this operation on Monday night and rescued the baby at around 1am from the Gudikandulas.
Inspector Pathare said, “We investigated the case with the help of CCTV footage obtained from Mitramandal area where the offence was committed. We also released a sketch of the suspects, based upon which we got important clues from our sources. Acting on a tip-off, our team went to Balajinagar and rescued the baby.” Primary investigations have revealed that the suspects and the Gudikandula family were known to each other. “Unable to bear a child, the Gudikandulas wanted to adopt one and asked Gandhi to arrange for it. Gandhi demanded Rs 3 lakh for the job.
After talks, the Gandhis went in search of a baby and stole Amarnath from his mother near Mitramandal chowk (see box). He had received Rs 90,000 of Rs 3 lakh from Gudikandula couple. We are investigating whether the suspects committed such offences in the past as well,” the policeman said.
The stolen baby
On October 24, Rekha Raju Pardhi (24), originally from Parbhani, had lodged a kidnapping case at Swargate police station against an unknown couple. In her complaint, Rekha had stated that she had gone to Undri to her brother’s home along with her husband and two daughters. They were heading to Pashan from Undri via Katraj where Rekha’s husband parted ways with her. She was finding her way when a couple spotted her and offered a job. The suspect Manish Gandhi lured her to come to the third floor of Patil Plaza building in Mitramandal chowk. While Rekha and her other two daughters went upstairs, Gandhi’s wife Paresha kept Amarnath with her. After some time, Paresha and Manish fled from the spot.