Mumbai: Gambler cooks up kidnap saga to escape wife's wrath

He pawned her jewelley and gambled all the money; filed a police complaint of abduction and robbery

How far would you go to save face after gambling away your life’s savings? We bet it won’t be as far as Lakharam Mali went. Afraid of facing his wife’s wrath after mortgaging her jewels and gambling away the proceeds from it, the 38-year-old temple cook concocted a kidnap and robbery story. So smug was he about his ‘foolproof’ plan that he even went to the extent of filing a police complaint.

Representational pic

Mali, who hails from Rajasthan and works as a cook at the Gaodevi temple in Santacruz, filed a complaint on March 16, saying he was accosted by three men at 11 am that day and pushed into a nearby car while on his way to work. Mali claimed that he had Rs 1 lakh on him, meant to be deposited in a bank.

According to his complaint, the three men switched off his phone, assaulted him, grabbed the cash and released him at 7 pm. Mali said upon his release, he went straight to the Santacruz police station to file an FIR. In the interim, he called up his wife and son, who rushed to the police station as well.

Taking serious cognisance of the alleged crime, the police filed an FIR under Sections 363 (kidnapping), 392 (robbery) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.

Senior Police Inspector Mahesh Desai of Crime Branch Unit IX sent his team comprising Inspector Rajesh Padvi, and constables Raju Pednekar and Ganesh Sawant to the alleged crime scene to draw up a sequence of the events.

This is where Mali’s lies began to unravel.

“When we reached the spot, it was very crowded and Mali said the accused had kept him there for several hours. Through local sources, we found that on that particular day, no car had been parked on the spot,” explained a Crime Branch officer.

A tip-off that Desai received was the final nail in Mali’s coffin — he had run up a huge debt and was in dire need of money.

The Malad resident was called for questioning by the police the same evening, and he confessed a few hours later to cooking up the whole story.

It turns out that Mali is a gambling addict and had suffered huge losses recently. Three days before filing the complaint, he had mortgaged his wife’s jewellery for R1 lakh. Hoping to double his fortune, he gambled it all away.

“He was afraid of facing his family after that, and that’s why he made up an abduction story to explain losing the money,” said a police officer.

Mali’s custody has been handed over to the Santacruz police station.

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