84-year-old goes missing days before sealing the deal on Rs 30 cr Juhu flat

May 04, 2013, 04:38 IST | Shiva Devnath and Sandip Kolhatkar

Cops say he and his female assistant were last seen on April 30, leaving his Pune residence in her car; the man he was selling the flat to has been detained.

This is a Rs 30-crore question spanning two cities — where are realtor Vinod Gulab and his assistant Usha Nair? The 84-year-old Pune resident and his aide went missing on April 30, while the former was in the process of selling his sprawling flat in Juhu. An official missing complaint has been registered at Koregaon Park police station by Gulab’s brother.

Pune Crime Branch (PCB) officials who are now investigating the case said, Gulab had recently decided to unload the 3,000-sqft flat for Rs 30 crore. He had even accepted Rs 4 crore as token money from the buyer. But even as the deal was progressing, Gulab disappeared.

“He was last seen on April 30, while leaving his Konark Enclave, Bundgarden residence with Usha (54) in her Maruti SX4 car. Since there was no trace of the duo after that, their families registered a missing complaint at the local police station,” confirmed Assistant Police Inspector VK Jachak from Koregaon Park.

The suspect
Sources from PCB revealed that the needle of suspicion points towards a Mumbai-based buyer who had approached Mumbai Crime Branch through a police informer, seeking help to evacuate some servants who were not ready to leave the flat.  “The same day we came to know about Gulab’s missing complaint through Pune police and we rounded up the informer who had brought the suspect to us. After several hours of tracing the buyer, we got to know his whereabouts and he has been picked up. So far there is no evidence of his involvement,” said a Mumbai Crime Branch officer on condition of anonymity. Sources say PCB received orders from Maharashtra director general of police’s office to investigate the case. 

No match
Meanwhile, a police team has been dispatched to Shirwal in Khandala where cops had found two unidentified bodies. “Pune Crime Branch had contacted us for details regarding the deceased. The corpses recovered by us were charred, but in this case the man is believed to be around 30 years of age, while the woman is 25,” said inspector Jadhav of Khandala police station. Sources in Pune Crime Branch said that Gulab and his siblings were running a business till a few years ago. They then went their separate ways after dividing up the property. Gulab, who acquired the Juhu flat, turned towards the real estate trade.

Rs 4 crore The amount that, sources say, Gulab had already received as token money from the buyer

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