Mumbai: TV crime shows help wife tackle man's kidnappers
Familiar with modus operandi, woman keeps cool and manages to get accused behind bars
The wife of a Jogheshwari-based businessman, who was recently kidnapped, managed to give her husband's kidnappers a run for their money, thanks to the crime shows on television she had been binging on. According to the police, after observing that the modus operandi of the kidnappers was similar to that on crime shows, the woman, instead of being bullied by the kidnappers, decided to play along and get them arrested. The incident dates back to October 31, when businessman Bhavin Shah received a call from one of the accused, who said he had a good business deal for him. The two then agreed to meet at around 3 pm near Andheri RTO. On the pretext of taking him to a factory, the accused got Shah to sit in his car. The victim was then taken to an unidentifiable spot in Nalasopara and held hostage.
Hetal Shah with her husband Bhavin
Meanwhile, Shah's wife Hetal Shah kept trying his number incessantly. When the calls went unanswered, she lodged a missing persons complaint with the Amboli police. The following day, Hetal received a call from Shah's number. The person who spoke in Marathi, asked her to check her WhatsApp immediately. On opening the app, she found videos of her husband being beaten to a pulp. One of the videos, also showed Shah's arm being slashed with a knife and his head being hit with a beer bottle. Hetal then got a call again, asking her to pay a ransom of Rs 82 lakh, if she wanted to see her husband alive. The accused also threatened to chop Shah private parts if she informed the police. Hetal, however, did not panic and kept negotiating with the kidnappers to bring down the ransom amount. They finally settled at Rs 50 lakh. On November 3, she got a call from one of the accused, who told her to get on to a Virar-bound train from Andheri at 2 pm.
The six arrested accused, who kidnapped Shah and hid him inside a flat in Nalasopara
"I did as they asked me to. After I sat in the train, they kept calling and telling me to change trains," Hetal said. She, however, kept updating the police about her whereabouts. The police had formed several teams that were deputed at different railway stations. When Hetal finally got down at Vasai Road station and saw two men approach her, she gestured to the cops, who were also at the station in plain clothes. "We immediately nabbed them. On interrogation, the men revealed that Shah had been kept in a flat," said Paramjit Singh Dahiya, deputy police commissioner, Zone 9.
A team led by ex-encounter specialist officer Daya Nayak reached the flat and caught the other four accused. Investigations later revealed that the mastermind of the conspiracy was Mohammed Shanu, 36, who is a friend of the family. Shanu had already shifted his family to his native place in Uttar Pradesh and had plans to relocate after he got the ransom money. According to the police, Hetal had alerted the police about this, when the caller had addressed her as "bhabhi".
The other arrested accused have been identified as Mohammed Shanu Shaikh, 36, Sandeep Sharma 38, Chandrabhan Singh, 32, Anil Pandey 33, Dhiraj Singh, 25, and Mohammad Kabadi, 32. They were produced in court on Saturday and have been remanded to police custody for ten days.
Lauding her for tackling the kidnappers, Dahiya said, "The wife was strong enough to handle the ransom calls. At no point did she break down." Hetal later revealed that watching crime shows had helped her tackle the kidnappers. Shah, who was reunited with the family, has suffered injuries to his right hand.