How did Vinod Broker (84) and his secretary Usha Nair (51) meet such a gruesome end? Following the arrest of the three accused Ibrahim Shaikh, Ravindra Reddy and Nitin Bhatia cops claim to have solved the case and deciphered the sequence of events.
Investigations have revealed that around noon on April 30, when the victims were last seen, the offenders took them on a drive in a hired car on the pretext of showing Vinod a property near Shirval. They then strangulated the duo, and left them in Khandala after setting the bodies on fire. This was a joint investigation led by Senior Inspector Bhanu Pratap Barge from Social Security Cell of Pune Police, sleuths of Crime Branch (Unit IX) of Mumbai police and Koregaon Park police station. After arresting Ibrahim and Ravindra, police yesterday morning apprehended Nitin from Mumbai.
Cops say Ibrahim the prime accused was driving the car, while Nitin and Ravindra, who were sitting in the back, asphyxiated the victims occupying the middle seat. Barge said that Nitin is a driver by profession and used to work for a renowned travel agency. He was a close associate of Ibrahim. “Nitin was the one who arranged a Toyota Innova, with registration number MH 04 DE 2667, which he later changed to MH 09 109.
Relating what transpired, Barge said, “Around 11 am on April 30, the trio came to Vinod’s Konark Enclave Housing Society residence and went in without entering their names or vehicle number in the security register. Here they met Vinod and Usha who were already waiting for them in the 84-year-old’s C-7 apartment.” After chatting and having some refreshments, Ibrahim offered to show Vinod his property near Shirval. They all left together at 12.15 pm, according to the CCTV footage of the building.
They reached the Katraj Tunnel an hour later, and here Nitin and Ravindra strangled the victims. They put the bodies in bags and, on reaching Kashedi Ghat at 2 pm, burnt the corpses after pouring petrol on both. However, moments after they had left, a local resident informed Khandala police station that some unidentified people had set fire to two bodies near a closed stone-crushing plant.
“The accused had removed all the belongings from the bodies and even stripped them. They took the house keys from Vinod’s pocket and returned to Konark Enclave at 4.20 pm. From here the trio took the keys to Vinod’s car and a bag containing important documents like passport and PAN card and left 10 minutes later. They took Usha’s car, in which she had arrived for the morning meeting, and sold it to a person in Bandra. We are trying to find out who had purchased the vehicle. A team has been sent to recover the car and other papers of the Juhu property,” said Barge.