On Tuesday, Preetesh Patel, a reputed builder from Kalyan area, got a call from a person going by the name of Saleem Bhai. The caller claimed he and his aides had abducted Preetesh’s brother Piyush, who owns a gas agency in Dombivali. “The man said that the actual plan was to kidnap Preetesh, but they inadvertently picked up Piyush. He then asked Preetesh to bring Rs 1 crore to Durgadi Fort at Kalyan West,” said Milind Bharambe, additional commissioner of police, Thane crime branch.
Soon after receiving this call, Preetesh – who stays at Vrundavan Vatika Society, Khadakpada area – informed the Bajarpeth police station in Kalyan about the situation. “We started tracing this Saleem Bhai. We also questioned whomever Piyush had called that day or sent SMSes to. We spoke with his business associates, wife Harsha Patel, father Mahesh Patel, brother Preetesh Patel, partner Kalpesh Patel, and other friends. One of the family members, Piyush’s sister, informed her husband Vijay Patel about the cops’ queries,” said Bharat Nimbalkar, senior police inspector, Kalyan crime branch.
Vijay immediately called up Piyush, who was sitting pretty in Emerald Lodge at Mira Road, and asked him to go to the police and tell them that he was kidnapped by four people who had picked him up in a black Scorpio and that he had managed to flee when they went to urinate. “Accordingly Piyush went to Virar police and narrated the fairytale,” said RR Patil,
senior inspector of Bajarpeth police station.
Piyush told the police that the kidnappers took him to Sheel Fatah, Diva, Kalwa and Mumbai. But when cops checked his phone records, they discovered that he was at Mira Road all the while. “We suspected something wrong and then interrogated Piyush several times. He finally broke down and told us that as his younger brother Preetesh was doing well in the construction business, he wanted to extract some money from him,” said Nimbalkar.
But when Preetesh registered a complaint with police, Piyush and Vijay — who were in cahoots — lost their nerve. “Piyush owed Rs 20 lakh to a person named Girish and Vijay too needed money. So, the latter called up Preetesh in the name of Saleem Bhai. We have arrested both Piyush and Vijay,” said Bharambe.