Monday, November 29, 1999

Couple tries to kidnap estate agent, held

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Mumbai, May 16 -- The Byculla police arrested a couple, that tried to kidnap a 50-year-old estate agent on Friday, to threaten him into paying the money that one of his deceased friends owed the duo. The incident occurred when the victim identified as Madanpura-based estate agent, Ashim Bhatacharya, was stepping out of a cemetery on Friday evening, after the funeral of his friend, Akhtari Ansari (46). Assistant Police Inspector Balasaheb Ghavate, investigating officer on the case said, one of the accused identified as Farida Shaikh (32) and her boyfriend Imran Patel (28) cornered him and forced him to pay Rs 15 lakh that Ansari owed them. When Bhatacharya refused, the duo told him to sell his Mira Road property and pay them. Bhatacharya was then made to sit on his own motorcycle along with Patel. Shaikh followed them in a taxi. The duo took Bhatacharya to Nagpada where he was confined for a few hours. Bhatacharya, who was Ansari's family friend, frequently visited her house after her husband's death in 1997. After Bhatacharya was kidnapped, Ansari's son Shoaib (19), rushed to the police station to register a complaint. "The duo snatched the victim's chain and mobile phone. But when Bhatacharya requested them to lend him a phone so he could make his family a call to ask about his medication, they gave him the phone," said Ghavate. "Instead of calling home, Bhatacharya called Shoaib who gave the phone to the police. They noted the address from him and the duo was arrested within 15 minutes," said Ghavate. The arrested are Dongri residents. Ghavate said Ansari knew Shaikh as both of them pretended to be social workers, and ran a trust called Beneficiaries of Poor. Through the trust, they admitted children to schools in Agripada and cheated their parents by demanding donations for the schools, which they pocketed.

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