The Mumbai police held five people in connection with the murder of a 52-year-old man from Vashi, who was kidnapped from Juinagar on June 9.
“The accused strangled him to death inside an SUV. They dumped the body in a gorge at Ratnagiri,” said Suraj Padvi, police inspector, Vashi police station.
The victim, Sanjay Gaikar, stays alone. After a few days, his sisters, who stay nearby, registered a missing person’s case with the Vashi police. The Ratnagiri police found the body five days later. They registered a case of accidental death and did not probe further. There were no developments for three months.
A few weeks ago, the Mumbai crime branch started investigating after finding clues. They arrested the accused and handed them over to the Vashi police.
“During interrogation, the accused confessed. We recovered the SUV and a two-wheeler used in the crime,” Padvi said.
Another police team has left for Ratnagiri to find out more and gather evidence from the spot.
“By the time the Ratnagiri police found the body, it was decomposed. The accused did not use a weapon to kill him and there were no cuts on the body. That could be one of the reasons why the police did not realise that it was a murder and not an accidental death,” said Padvi.
“The main accused Zinda Mullah, 40, is a real estate agent. He had given Gaikar Rs25 lakh to let him develop and renovate a residential building. However, Gaikar accepted the bribe but did not let him start work. He did not return the money either. Mullah planned the murder and paid the others to help him,” he said.