It seemed a plot straight out of a Bollywood potboiler: an abduction, four conspirators, each with a different post-abduction plan to pocket the maximum share of the ransom amount (Rs 10 lakh) and then the gruesome murders of two of the conspirators.
But the script went awry as the killers made the mistake of using the slain conspirator’s ATM cards, in a massage centre at the airport, that helped the cops to arrest them after stopping a Mumbai-bound flight at Amausi airport which was about to take off.
“Mohd Imran and Jeetesh Ashok or we, who were arrested from the flight on Wednesday night, were the key conspirators behind Jal Nigam engineer Abdul Salim Faridi’s kidnapping from Lucknow on Monday and the brutal murders of two co-conspirators Sandip Singh and his paramour Nutan Ojha alias Neetu, whose bodies were found in different places in Allahabad on Wednesday,” said Amit Pathak, SSP of Special Task Force (STF), who played a crucial role in solving the case.
“Sandip Singh and Neetu, who were known to the engineer, had initially planned to kidnap him and demand ransom of R 2 crore. Sandip roped in his two friends Imran and Jeetesh, who stayed in Mumbai and had committed similar crimes earlier,” additional SP (ASP) of STF, Arvind Chaturvedi told HT.
Chaturvedi said Imran and Jeetesh had planned to eliminate Sandip after getting ransom from the engineer’s family to bag the maximum share and then release the victim. He said Sandip, however, had a plan to eliminate his paramour and the engineer after getting the ransom and he had briefed Imran and Jeetesh separately. Neetu on her part planned to eliminate the engineer and live peacefully with Sandip. “In the end, the different plans of four conspirators ended up with murders of Sandip and Neetu while the engineer came out of the drama safe,” he said .
As per the initial plan, Neetu called the engineer to meet her in a restaurant on Shahnajaf road on Monday evening. The engineer immediately reaches the venue as he had known Neetu for two years . All four then kidnapped the engineer, t ook him t o Allahabad i n Sandip’s SUV and kept him captive at a place.
The ASP said the kidnappers finalized the deal at Rs 10 lakh after the engineer expressed his inability to pay Rs 2 crore. The engineer’s friend Rajesh Pandey transferred the ransom amount to Sandip’s bank account after a call from the former.
Chaturvedi said there was a twist in the tale when Neetu asked Imran to kill the engineer but he shot her dead as per the deal with Sandip. “Thereafter, Imran had a brawl with the Sandip over murdering the engineer. Sandip wanted to eliminate the engineer, as he believed he would expose him if left alive. Imran had a different plan. He freed the engineer on Tuesday afternoon and held Sandip captive. He later murdered Sandip with the help of Jeetesh and a local help Jameel,” said the ASP.
He said Imran and Jeetesh returned to Lucknow to fly to Mumbai after disposing of the bodies. The duo was held at Amausi airport after stopping the flight, which was about to take off. The police traced them when they used Sandip’s ATM card at a spa on the airport.
ALLAHABAD AIDES ALSO IN POLICE NET
Imran had also roped in three more Allahabad locals Asif, Jameel and Amjad in executing the plan . They have also been arrested . The police said the engineer was held hostage at Asif ’s place in Kareli area of Allahabad while Jameel and Amjad helped him in murdering Sandip and Neetu and disposing of their bodies. They are being quizzed about their criminal nexus.
NEETU WAS KILLED IN FRONT OF THE ENGINEER
Engineer Abdul Salim Faridi was in deep shock, as Neetu was shot dead in front of his eyes. He had lost hope of getting free of the kidnappers’ captivity alive but Imran kept his promise . “He did not share these details with the police even after his release and was trying to cook a different story. He did not even want further police probe in the matter,” said SSP of STF, Amit Pathak.
FOUR OTHER KIDNAPPINGS
Before the engineer’s kidnapping, Imran and Sandip had committed three other similar kidnappings in Allahabad and one in Lucknow but the only incident reported to Civil Lines police station in Allahabad was when they kidnapped a trader and released him after taking ransom of Rs 6 lakh last year.
Every time, they targeted people familiar to them. “They called a trader of Rajasthan for a business deal and held him captive in Lucknow. They released him after getting ransom of` 3 lakh,” said ASP Arvind Chaturvedi.
Imran, along with Jeetesh, worked as a bouncer in Mumbai after he failed in real estate business in his home district Allahabad. Imran and Sandip were in touch only through real estate business and the duo belonged to Allahabad. Sandip knew the engineer through Neetu who was introduced to the latter through an Allahabad based Jal Nigam contractor Wasim.