Mumbai Crime: Driver beaten to death in smuggling racket worth Rs 21 lakh
The driver was involved in a major smuggling racket involving red sand boa snake; he refused to return the money to the accused for which he was murdered
A 47-year-old driver, allegedly a member of a smuggling racket was killed by a group of five people for cheating them to the tune of Rs 21 lakh after promising a hefty profit by selling a red sand boa snake. The deceased, Udaybhan Pal, a resident of Ghatkopar, had gone missing in mid-June. The Ghatkopar cops, after a detailed investigation, not only found out the body but also arrested the five accused with the help of Satara Police.
Udaybhan Pal, resident of Ashok Nagar Hill no. 3, Ghatkopar (W), informed his wife Savitri on June 17, 2019, that, he was going to Karad city in Satara district for some errands. Later on, Pal, an auto driver, suddenly made a fortune and purchased a second hand Skoda car. Pal would use this car to ferry private trips. Savitri had a word with Pal on June 18, who then assured her that he would return to Mumbai in a day or two. However, his cell phone was switched off on the evening of June 18.
After trying to establish contact for nearly a week, on June 24, Savitri rushed to the Ghatkopar police station and registered a missing complaint with the cops. When they began the investigation, they found out that his last location was at a hotel in Karad. Meanwhile, Savitri told the cops that she received information that Udaybhan has been kidnapped by a few people in Satara and registered an FIR against unknown persons under IPC 363 (kidnapping).
Udaybhan was a member of Red Sand Boa snake, smuggling racket, which claimed to bring a huge fortune. During his visits to Karad, Satara, he met Pradip Surve (47), an owner of an online lottery stall. "Udaybhan informed Pradip that he could procure a snake for Rs 20-22 lakh which un turn could be sold for Rs 1 crore. Pradip couldn't believe his ears and readily agreed to invest the money," said an officer from Ghatkopar police station.
Pradip Surve began to hand over cash to Pal from February 2019 and by June he paid Rs 21 lakh to Udaybhan. "After receiving the money, Udaybhan bought a snake saying he found a buyer in Nashik who will purchase it for Rs 1 crore. However, by the time they reached Nashik, the snake died," said another officer. "Surve argued with Pal to pay back the money but Pal refused, saying that he will arrange another snake instead of paying Surve back," added officer.
Call from final meeting
Surve contacted Pal and asked him to arrive at Karad in mid-June. When Pal reached Karad, Surve then took him to a hotel and began to demand the money. Pal told him that he can't return the money, resulting in a heated argument. Surve took Pal to a water stream near Gopalwadi and beat him up with wooden sticks to death with the help of Vinod Shudrik (30), Suresh Sonwane (33), Akshay Awghade (23).
Pradip contacted his friend Kaleem Shabbir Ahmed Qureshi and told them to dump the body in Kumbharli Ghat on Karad-Chiplun road. The body, dumped at a ghat, was found on July 25, by cops of Alore Shirgaon police from Ratnagiri district. Ghatkopar cops who rounded up accused contacted Alore Shirgaon police who showed pictures of the body confirming it that of Udaybhan Pal.
Karad Town cops registered offence under IPC section 302 (murder), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 34 (common intention). "Accused have been handed over to us and produced in Court resulting in their police custody till August 9" said an officer from Karad Town police station.
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