On day four in the search for Shilpa Berma, 40, who was allegedly kidnapped at gun-point in Vasai, the Arnala police have not been able to find substantial leads. The police however have recovered Berma’s mobile phone from an auto-driver, who has been detained for inquiry. Berma’s friend Nupurkumari Shrivastava registered an FIR stating that Berma had accidentally hit a pedestrian, who in turn forced her to come with him at gun-point. The auto-driver has been identified as Yogesh Raut, 29. The police are investigating if Berma was kidnapped in Raut’s auto.
Berma’s mobile was found with Yogesh Raut. Pic/Hanif Patel
Yogesh’s friend told SUNDAY mid-day that Raut got the phone from a road near Disha Hotel in Virar and bought a SIM card to use the phone. Meanwhile, the police have been scouting Berma’s house in Virar. Additional superintendent Srikrishna Kokate said, “We will soon trace the location of the victim.” Berma has an earlier record of being kidnapped in Kanpur in 2013, only to be found four days later, and that is being investigated as well. In the recent, an eyewitness has revealed that she did not see Berma struggling with any kidnapper, but rather leaving with two women. The suspicion that Berma might have framed the kidnapping looms high.
Police superintendent Sharda Raut, who has not visited the scene of crime, is away from work. A police official from the Arnala police station said, “She is not on personal leave; it’s an official leave for mid-term career training.”