A real estate agent’s lucrative business-on-the-side that of lending large sums and then demanding equally large amounts as interest became the cause of his undoing, when one of his clients who owed him money decided that killing him would be the best way to work off the debt. The Kasturba Marg police arrested three men yesterday for kidnapping Nilesh Jethalal Upadhyay (45) from Borivli (East), killing him brutally and dumping his body near Talasari on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway.
The police officers said that Upadhyay had left his residence in Borivli (East) at 9 pm on Monday to attend a friend’s birthday party at Nallasopara. When Upadhyay did not return even the next day, his worried family approached the police and registered a missing person’s complaint. Upadhyay’s wife Varsha, who lodged the complaint, was accompanied by Prakash Sawant (36) whose birthday party Upadhyay had attended.
“Varsha told us that on Monday, her husband had received a call from Sawant who had invited him to Nallasopara for a party. The two had left in a car along with other men. The next day, Upadhyay’s mother Madhuben received an SMS from him saying that he was going to Madhya Pradesh for a few days, followed by the words Jai Mata Di,” said a police officer.
Ritu, Upadhyay’s daughter, said, “I had called papa on his mobile phone. At 2 am, somebody answered his phone but disconnected it. After that it continued to be unavailable.” When questioned, Sawant, a car dealer, told the police that Upadhyay was with him till 2 am on Tuesday, but had left the party, saying he had some work and had to leave the city. Still suspicious, the police officers detained Sawant. Meanwhile, the Talasari police officers had recovered a body of a man and registered a case of murder as the corpse had deep cut wounds. His identity could not be determined as his head had been smashed with a stone. There were no documents on his person.
On Wednesday, Sawant confessed to the police that he and three of his accomplices had kidnapped Upadhyay and killed him, after which they had dumped the body at Talasari. “Sawant told us that Upadhyay had lent him Rs 7 lakh about a year ago and was demanding that the money be returned along with an additional Rs 5 lakh as interest. Sawant had been ignoring him, but lately Upadhyay had started harassing him for repayment of the loan. He then decided to kill Upadhyay,” said Bharat Worlikar, senior police inspector of Kasturba Marg police station.
The police have arrested Sawant and his accomplices Hussain Chand Sayyed (24) and Mubarak Shaikh (30). They are now on the hunt for the third accomplice who hails from Nepal and was driving the car that was used to kidnap Upadhyay. The police have contacted the Talasari police station, where the family was sent to identify the body.