Four men who allegedly kidnapped and murdered Ghatkopar-based businessman Ashish Bansal, 40, were arrested by the Navi Mumbai crime branch on Saturday. The accused have criminal cases registered against them in police stations across the city.
They have been identified as Amir Khan, 27, a resident of Khopoli; Nusratali Khan alias Jabirali, 37, a Turbhe resident hailing from Uttar Pradesh; Asif Hussain, 28, from Mumbra who hails from Rajasthan and Rizwan Wadia, 21, a Uttar Pradesh native who resides in Dharavi.
Bansal, a scrap importer who owned a factory in Khalapur, Raigad, and his driver Nilesh Rikame, were kidnapped on December 13 on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. “Bansal called his younger brother and his Khalapur office and told them that he needed Rs50 lakh. When his brother asked him what the urgency was, he did not mention that he had been kidnapped,” said Anil Bansal, a cousin.
Two employees and a relative of Bansal delivered Rs41 lakh near a Vashi mall the same night. The accused then shot Bansal dead. “Four rounds were fired from a sophisticated weapon. His body was dumped at Umber village in Khalapur,” said Dattatrey Shinde, deputy commissioner of police (crime).
Acting on a tip-off, the crime branch laid a trap at Belapur on Friday night. “Around 1.45am, the accused arrived in a Pajero SUV near Mahesh hotel in sector 11 of CBD Belapur.”
The police have seized the vehicles used in the kidnapping, 13 live rounds, a magazine, eight mobile phones, five SIM cards and several credit and I-cards, including a press card of one of the accused, and Rs3 lakh.
Shinde said: “The accused have several cases of cheating, vehicle thefts and dacoity registered against them in various police stations in Mumbai and neighbouring regions. Prima facie, it seems to be a case of kidnapping and murder for extortion. Bansal knew Amir Khan. Fearing that Bansal may file a complaint against him on being released, Khan shot him dead.”