A day after a woman said her friend was kidnapped at gunpoint, CCTV footage, witness accounts, and preliminary investigations make cops wonder if housewife staged her abduction
A day after getting a complaint that a Vasai-based housewife was kidnapped at gunpoint, the police have found out that the woman had been involved in a kidnapping case earlier too.
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CCTV image of the incident
The police’s suspicion that Shilpa Berma, 40, may have staged her kidnapping was strengthened with the emergence of a new eyewitness claiming she saw the two women and a man walking together. The new witness has told the police that from their body language, it did not seem like a kidnapping was underway.
Romila Churi shows an image she took of the alleged kidnapping
Over 50 policemen are searching for Berma and her alleged kidnapper, who Berma’s friend Nupurkumari Shrivastava, 50, had said was armed.
Earlier on Thursday, preliminary investigations revealed that a case of kidnapping of Berma was registered by the Kanpur railway police in 2013. Four days later, she was found in the same area from where she was allegedly kidnapped. The police said she was found with a man and the Kanpur police had registered a case of kidnapping against him following Berma’s statement that he had spiked her drink and kidnapped her.
Also on Thursday, an eyewitness Romila Churi (40) who stays in Dongarpada, Vasai east, where the alleged kidnapping happened on Wednesday, has told the investigators that all three were together and there was nothing amiss.
“I was sitting in the first floor when Berma had banged her car into a street light,” Churi said. “I rushed to the spot and noticed that the light pole had bent. There were two women in the car. I saw a man coming out of the car and pull out something and then sit inside again. The woman then began reversing the car but could not so the man got out and disappeared in the crowd.”
After a while, Churi said, the two left the car at the spot and began walking in the direction where the man had disappeared. She said under these circumstances, it was hard to believe that Berma could have been kidnapped.
“If the man was taking the women away forcibly, as claimed by her friend, the two would have raised an alarm at that moment and sought help from people who had gathered at the spot. Instead of running away from the man, the two were in fact following him,” she said.
Churi has recorded her statement with the police. The police have now begun a fresh round of questioning of Shrivastava, who had informed the cops about the kidnapping.
Additional SP, Palghar, Srikrishna Kokate, said the police are on the case and have collected evidence that cannot be disclosed at present. “We have also found eyewitnesses and CCTV recordings. We will solve the case soon,” said Kokate.