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10 days on, ‘missing’ Mumbai diamond trader found dead

57-year-old, also an art collector, was last seen getting into a car at Vikhroli; the bars he frequented, too, under cop scanner

mumbai Updated: Dec 08, 2018 07:30 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Crime,Diamon trader
Rajeshwar Kishorilal Udani was last seen near Vikhroli traffic police outpost on the eastern express highway (EEH) on the night of November 28.(HT PHOTO)

Ten days after a 57-year-old Ghatkopar diamond merchant went missing, his body was found in the bushes in a hilly area close to Dehrang dam in Panvel on Thursday, under mysterious circumstances.

Rajeshwar Kishorilal Udani, a resident of Mahalaxmi apartment at Kama lane in Ghatkopar (West), was last seen near Vikhroli traffic police outpost on the eastern express highway (EEH) on the night of November 28.

“Udani asked his driver to drop him at the spot, after which he got into another car,” said Maniksingh P Patil, assistant police commissioner, Ghatkopar division.

According to the police, Udani was speaking on the phone when he reached Vikhroli. His last mobile location was Rabale in Navi Mumbai, after which the phone was switched off.

The driver told the police that as the other car was parked 70m away, he could not see its registration number. The police suspect that the numberplate of the car may be duplicate.

Udani’s son, Ronak, 31, approached the police on November 29, after which the police registered a missing person’s complaint. On December 3, they registered a case of kidnapping.

Meanwhile, the Panvel taluka police on Tuesday was alerted that the security guard of the dam had found a body in a decomposed condition. The Panvel taluka police sent the body for post-mortem and registered a case of accidental death.

The police then alerted their counterparts in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane about the unidentified body on Friday morning.

The Pant Nagar police then contacted the Udani family, who identified the body based on his clothes and footwear.

“We are questioning several people, including a few from the television industry, women working at bars he frequented, persons from the business fraternity and a man associated with a politician,” said a senior police officer, who did not wish to be named. “We are checking if it is a murder over personal rivalry or financial dispute,” said a police officer.

Along with diamonds, Udani and his son were also dealers of Indian antiques.

“Udani was an avid art collector for more than two decades. His collection includes works of artists from the pre-Independence era namely Nandalal Bose, Binode Behari Mukherjee, Gaganendranath Tagore, Ramkinkar Baij, to post-Independence works of MF Husain, Ganesh Pyne, Jogen Chowdhury, and the recent Sunil Das, Wasim Kapoor, Sanjay Bhattacharya, and numerous others,” according to the website of Udani’s company.

The Navi Mumbai police said the viscera have been preserved for further chemical analysis. “There are no external injuries on his body,” said Ashok Rajput, senior inspector, Panvel Taluka police station.

First Published: Dec 08, 2018 00:51 IST