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Mumbai police arrest the fourth suspect

The police believe that the fourth suspect, Raju Dharia, 22, is the one who strangled Adnan with his belt.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2007 13:42 IST

A fourth suspect has been arrested in the kidnap-murder of 16-year-old Adnan Patrawala, son of a Mumbai businessman, and police believe that he is the one who strangled the teen with his belt.

Rajiv Himatbhai Dharia alias Raju Dharia was picked by the police late on Wednesday from suburban Malad.

Dharia, 22, was being hunted by investigators and is accused of strangulating Adnan to death with a "sharp belt" and also driving Adnan's Skoda, police said on Thursday.

Dharia, along with the other four, had befriended Adnan on the social networking site Orkut and lured him to meet them the last weekend.

Adnan's body was found in an abandoned car on Palm Beach Road in the northeastern suburbs of Navi Mumbai late on Monday.

Three youths were arrested that very day, including a 28-year-old BPO employee Sujith Nair, touted as the mastermind of the plot. The others were 19-year-old drummer Ayush Bhatt and 17-year-old college student Himesh Ambavat.

With the arrest of Dharia, investigators claim that while five youths befriended Adnan on Orkut, only four had a hand in the actual killing.

"Of the five accused, four were involved in the killing," said senior inspector Kiran Sonone.

"We are also interrogating another of Adnan's friends Lala. Investigations reveal that though Lala had not taken active part in the killing, he probably stayed back to arrange for the ransom to be collected," Sonone told IANS on Thursday.

Investigators piecing together the case said that it has become clear that the accused had no concrete plans about where to confine Adnan after his abduction.

"The gang with Adnan tied and lying on the floor of the car first moved around Mumbai, Thane, and Navi Mumbai, scouting for a cheap hotel or guest house where they could confine Adnan and wait for the ransom to be collected."

The gang panicked after media reports of the abduction were flashed on television channels.

"It was a common friend who called up Nair to inform him that the Crime Branch was pursuing them. That is when they panicked and killed Adnan," the official said.

Police, meanwhile, said that there was no connection of the "mystery girl" Angel D, with the abduction and murder of Adnan.

"There was no connection between Adnan and his online friend Angel," said a senior police official.

"The girl, whom we have interrogated, had befriended Adnan on Orkut. But we do not want to reveal her real identity as she has no involvement with the case," said an official.

Angel's name cropped up after her messages to Adnan urging him to meet her on Saturday were found on his Orkut page. His abductors were also alleged to have lured him out saying that they would introduce him to Angel.

Adnan had stepped out of his upmarket Lokhandwala Complex residence in Andheri on Saturday evening telling his family that he was going to play pool with his friends, but he never returned.

On Sunday, the family received ransom calls demanding Rs 20 million for his release. The Patrawalas lodged a case of kidnapping with the Oshiwara police station.

While Nair and Bhatt have been sent to police custody till August 28, Ambavat has been remanded to a juvenile home. Dharia is to be produced before a magistrate on Thursday.

First Published: Aug 23, 2007 13:22 IST