Mumbai: Conmen hired police uniform to kidnap businessman, 4 arrested

The gang posed as cops, kidnapped Sanjay Shah and demanded Rs 2 crore as ransom from his wife Geeta; he was let off on Saturday after kidnappers learnt about the police complaint filed by her

Three days after the miraculous return of an abducted 46-year-old businessman on Saturday evening, which had initially left the cops baffled, the Charkop police nabbed four men from Dahisar check naka last morning for the kidnapping.

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Charkop police with the quartet they nabbed last morning from Dahisar check naka
Charkop police with the quartet they nabbed last morning from Dahisar check naka

The victim, Sanjay Shah. had been abducted by Manoj Tekbahadur Singh (40), Mangesh Anant Mane (38), Rupesh Sadanand Ladh (28) and Rahul Vishwanath Ojha (25). They were produced in the court and have been remanded in police custody till March 28. Singh resides in Vasai and runs a shoe mart on rent. Mane is a driver by profession and works at a travel agency. Ladh and Ojha are unemployed and reside in Thane.

Requesting anonymity, a senior officer from Charkop police station said Singh — who is the brother-in-law of the victim’s brother — was the key conspirator who hatched the plot to kidnap the 46-year-old businessman.

The kidnapping
A police officer said Shah, a Charkop resident, is a lobster farmer and owns several farms at Safale in Palghar. On Thursday afternoon, he went to visit an optician in Borivli. In the evening he called his younger brother Raju.

He told Raju that a team of three police officers from the Crime Branch were taking him to Thane for inquiry and he would be returning home late.

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However, Shah failed to return home by midnight and his cell phone was unreachable. Worried about her husband’s safety, Geeta visited the Charkop police with her brother-in-law and filed a missing person complaint on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday.

She visited the police station on Friday afternoon after receiving a ransom call from unidentified men, demanding Rs 2 crore to secure Shah’s release. Geeta told the police that the kidnappers had called her via her husband’s number. Based on her complaint, a case of kidnapping was registered on Friday and police teams were formed to trace Shah.

Real motive
During interrogation, Singh confessed to his crime and told police officers that he hatched the plot to fund his mother’s cancer treatment and buy himself shop space worth Rs 25 lakh. Singh told the police that he also wanted to teach Shah a lesson for his initial refusal to help him financially.

He revealed that on the day of the kidnapping, while Mane drove the Innova car in a police uniform, Ladh and Ojha introduced themselves as Crime Branch constables. The probe revealed that Mane had rented the uniform from a Thane shop for Rs 450 per day.

Cop speak
“In his statement, Shah told us that there were three persons who kidnapped him and one of them was constantly updating someone over the phone about their whereabouts. However, the accused freaked out upon learning that an FIR had been lodged and released Shah a day after they demanded ransom from his wife,” said DCP Vikram Deshmane.

He added that a team comprising PI Deepak Phatangde, API Mahesh Kulkarni, API Dahifade, PSI Todkar and others laid a trap and nabbed the accused from Dahisar check naka last morning. The team also confiscated the Innova car used for the crime.

Sources claimed the police had managed to secure a CCTV grab of the alleged kidnappers in which one is seen wearing a police uniform, while the other two are in plain clothes.

The image was extracted from the footage from Jai Ambe petrol pump in Vasai (E) where they took a brief halt to fill gas.

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