Two years after he came under the police scanner following the suicide of his former girlfriend and model Viveka Babajee, stockbroker Gautam Vora, 33, got into serious trouble on Monday as he was arrested for allegedly conspiring in the escape of murder accused Vijay Palande.
Vora, who moves in page 3 circles, was picked up from his south Mumbai residence early on Monday after crime branch officials said they established that he had been plotting to help Palande flee the country. He was subsequently arrested.
Deven Bharati, additional commissioner of police, crime, said Vora had conspired along with Palande for his escape. “Vora planned to help Palande get to Bangkok,” he said.
On April 11, around 7.30 pm, Palande escaped from a police jeep in which he was being brought from Satara, in connection with the murder of senior citizen Arun Tikku, when the vehicle slowed down on Old Nagardas Road in Andheri (east) due to traffic.
Palande then got in touch with Vora. “He took a Churchgate train and got down at Marine Lines station, as instructed by Vora,” he said.
From there, the duo went to Colaba, where Vora bought three T-shirts and a trouser for Palande using his credit card. They then checked into a hotel in the area.
The duo remained at the hotel for the next two hours, plotting how Palande would make it to Bangkok, Bharati said. “Vora was supposed to sponsor his trip.”
Palande called a relative and asked him to come to the airport with his passport so that he could go to Bangkok, and then checked out of the hotel around midnight, heading for Churchgate station. A crime branch team, led by Bharati, however, arrested Palande from the station.
Responding to whether Vora had been unaware of Palande’s background, Bharati said: “Vora should have told the police about his meeting with Palande after he was re-arrested.” The police believe that Vora and Palande are “very close”. “So he called Vora for assistance,” he said.