After spending 10 years in prison on charges of murder, extortion and other crimes, gangster Ashwin Naik is once again behind bars after he was picked up by the Dadar police yesterday, for extorting Rs 50 lakh from a builder.
Naik has been wheelchair-bound ever since a paralytic attack in prison. He was caught red-handed as he collected the money from the builder. File pic
Naik, who was left crippled by a paralytic attack in prison, was acquitted in all 16 cases against him and released from Yerwada jail in May 2009. At the time, he had said he would no longer lead a life of crime. However, on Sunday, he was caught red-handed by the police as he collected R50 lakh from a Dadar builder he had earlier kidnapped and threatened.
The cops said they received a complaint from the builder last week, after he was allegedly kidnapped by Naik’s associates on December 9. The accused took the builder to an office in Subhash Nagar, Chembur and threatened to kill him unless he coughed up Rs 50 lakh. They even asked him to hand over 6,000 square feet of space in his new project, said cops.
During investigations, the police learnt that the accused had similarly extorted Rs 25 lakh from the builder’s business partner a few days ago. After complaining to the police, the builder fixed a date and spot to meet the culprits to hand over the money. Meanwhile, Dadar police officials laid in wait to trap Naik.
Ashwin Naik. Pic Sameer Markande
Yesterday, the wheelchair-bound Naik and his men turned up at Bhavani Shankar Road in two Innovas. As soon as the builder handed Naik the Rs 50 lakh, the cops arrested the gangster. Naik’s associates, Promod Keluskar, Janardhan Sakpal, Prathmesh Parab and Rajesh Tambe were also arrested. Police have booked the accused under Sections 364 (A) (kidnapping for ransom), 384 (extortion), 387 (putting person in fear of death), 34 (common intention) and 120 B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, along with Sections 3 and 25 of the Arms Act.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti said, “We are exploring his crime links. We will take stringent action against the gang members.”
Who is Ashwin Naik?
An electronic engineer by profession, Naik entered the underworld after his brother, gangster Amar Naik died in an encounter in the 1990s.
Naik took over his brother’s gang but remained under the radar until his arrest on the Indo-Bangladesh border on August 1,1999.
He had been charged in 16 cases, including plotting the murder of his wife, corporator Neeta Naik, whom he had suspected of having an affair with her bodyguard.
Over a period of ten years, Naik was acquitted in all the cases, including his wife’s murder, due to lack of evidence.
However, three of his associates, who had executed his wife’s murder, were convicted in 2003.