HDFC VP murder case: Suspect planned to sell victim's car and mobile for money
In the days leading up to crime, murder accused Sarfaraz Shaikh had made a list of top-level bank officials, approached some of them for work, say cops
No matter what Sarfaraz Shaikh claims, he did not kill HDFC Bank vice-president Siddharth Sanghavi by mistake. If anything, he was exceedingly cruel, said police sources. When the banker's neck got slashed on his knife, Shaikh first offered to take him to the hospital. Instead, he left the man bleeding for 10 minutes, and then returned to slit his neck and stab him multiple times.
According to the police, it was Sanghavi's position at the bank that had made him a lucrative target for Shaikh. The accused would do fabrication work at the bank from time to time, and had asked staffers about who the top officials at the bank were. The police suspect that he zeroed in on Sanghavi because he knew he could overpower the banker and rob him easily.
He had a plan
“Shaikh clearly had a plan. If he was targeting random people in the parking lot of the HDFC building at Kamla Mills, why would he pick Sanghavi, who drove a modest Ignis? Shaikh could have picked someone with a swankier car from the same building,” said an officer from the NM Joshi Marg police. Shaikh had almost attacked another senior official from the bank two days before the murder, but backed away when he saw people walking with the target. That's when he zeroed in on Sanghavi, calculating that with his gym training, he would be able to overpower the banker.
The police had earlier questioned why Shaikh kept the banker's phone and car after the murder, but the accused said that his plan was to sell the dead banker's car and cell phone, and withdrawing cash from his account after asking Sanghavi's family for his ATM PIN during ransom negotiations.
How it happened
On September 5, when Sanghavi got into his car, Shaikh got in and sat in the backseat as well. He asked for money, and when the VP rejected his request, he held his knife to Sanghavi's throat. Sanghavi got scared and tried to escape, but the knife sliced into his neck. “Shaikh promised that if the banker stayed quiet, he would take him to the hospital. But when Sanghavi screamed in pain, Shaikh left him in the parking lot and fled. He looked around to see if anyone was there, and once he was satisfied, he returned 10 minutes later, slit Sanghavi's neck and stabbed him several times.
During the investigation, Sarfaraz revealed that he has three bank accounts, but had less than R100 in each of them. He also told the police that he had only R200 left in his pocket. He had bought a Pulsar 220 bike around six months ago, but was struggling pay the EMIs. “Shaikh hadn't found much work in the past couple of months, so he decided to rob some bank officials. He knew who the top officials were, and would even introduce himself to them, requesting for work at their homes,” said a highly placed source in the police. Sources revealed that Mumbai Crime Branch is pursuing parallel lines of investigation, and teams have been dispatched to Kolhapur, Ahmednagar and Uttar Pradesh.
Cash that Shaikh had remaining
Amount he had demanded from Sanghavi
All his plans failed
Shaikh told the cops that he decide to dump the body at Haji Malang because he would frequent the area with his friends. He parked Sanghavi's Ignis near his home in Koparkhairance, hoping to seel it for a profit. But the next day, he checked the car's papers and found that it was registered in Sanghavi's name, so he dropped the idea. Then he thought of selling the phone, but when he switched it on, he got frightened by the barrage of text messages and missed calls. After a couple of days, he put Sanghavi's SIM card in his phone, and got a call from the banker's father. That's when he thought of asking for the victim's ATM PIN, but could not muster the courage to do so.
Aggressive in the gym
One of Shaikh's gym partners told mid-day, “Sometimes we would make fun of his lean body, but he had an aggressive streak, and when anyone challenged him to lift more weights, he would accept and go beyond 120 pounds. If he got into a fight with anyone, he would stop visiting the gym. He had become irregular in the last couple of months, and said he couldn't afford it anymore.
Father recognised his favourite shoes
When Shaikh revealed where he had dumped the body, the police took the baker's father Kiran Sanghavi there. They found a body dumped by the road, partially submerged in water. The banker's ID card was found in his chest pocket, but the father refused to believe it was his son. It was only when the body was fished out of the water that he sawhis son's shoes and recognised them, according to sources. “Those were his favourite shoes,” Kiran had said, breaking down.
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