A miffed gangster allegedly took a builder’s family hostage at gunpoint in Chembur on Friday after he got fed up waiting for the builder to pay up a ransom of Rs 25 lakh.
The 40-minute drama ended with the police storming into the flat and shooting the gangster, Anand Dengre (35).
Dengre, believed to be a member of the Ravi Pujari gang, had six cases of extortion and criminal intimidation registered against him across various police stations in the city.
The police said around four months ago, Dengre had called up builder Vijay Bhatija (41), who also has an imitation jewellery business, demanding Rs 25 lakh as ransom. Bhatija, however, refused to give in to his demand.
At 10.30 am on Friday, Dengre landed up at Bhatija’s sixth floor flat in Kaveri housing Society. He barged in by threatening the maid who opened the door with a chopper, the police said.
“He fished out a gun and threatened to kill Bhatija if the ransom amount was not paid. Bhatija asked for some time to make the arrangement, and called up his brother, Laxman, to negotiate with the accused,” a police official said, on condition of anonymity.
Laxman in turn informed the police before arriving at Bhatija’s flat along with his wife.
However, while the duo was negotiating with Dengre, he noticed platoons of policemen cordoning off the building.
“Dengre lost his head and took Laxman’s wife and the maid to the master bedroom and locked them inside. He told Bhatija and his brother to warn the cops to leave the premises within three minutes, failing which he would kill them,” the police official said.
In the meantime, a team of five policemen reached outside the flat door and tried convincing Dengre not to harm the family and to surrender.
“He refused to calm down and threatened to shoot the hostages. That’s when the police team broke down the door and entered the flat,” said Dilip Sawant, deputy commissioner of police.
Sawant said Dengre opened fire at the police team, who retaliated and injured him critically.
He was taken to Rajawadi Hospital where he was declared dead before admission.
Police inspector Sanjay More of Chembur police station, who was part of the operation, said he is lucky to be alive. “I am happy none of us was injured,” More said.
The Bhatijas, who are in a state of shock, refused to speak to the media.