The crime branch of the city police arrested a man on the charge of seeking ransom of Rs 1 crore from the director of Rucha Engineering Company, Umesh Dashrathi, at a hotel in Waluj on Monday night at 9. The man accused of extortion has been identified as Mahesh Prabhuanna Chikankar (22, Pawannagar, Ranjangaon). He is a native of village Peer Mangrul in Washim district. He was arrested after 5 days of hide-and-seek between him and the crime branch cops and had agreed to accept Rs 30 lakh after bargaining.
The crime branch police inspector, Avinash Aghav, said that the Rucha Engineering manager, Nagnath Karade (35, Bajajnagar, Waluj), lodged a complaint stating that he received a call on his mobile phone from an unknown man on Thursday night at 8.30. The caller told Karade that he is in possession of a CD, of the company owner, Umesh Dashrathi, which he will hand over in lieu of Rs 1 crore and sought his mobile number. The wise manager, Karade, gave his another of his own mobile number saying that it was Dashrathi's number and as anticipated he received a call on that mobile phone immediately. This time Karade spoke like Umesh Dashrathi and started bargaining, that Rs 1 crore is too big an amount and he wouldn't be able to pay it. The extortionist agreed to hand over the CD to him at Rs 30 lakh. The deal took 2-3 days and 5-7 calls.
Meanwhile Umesh Dashrathi in person approached the police and informed them about the crime. The deputy commissioner of police (DCP, HQ), Vasant Pardeshi, directed PI Aghav to look into the matter and acting on the directions, Aghav laid traps for 5-6 times, but failed to nab the extortionist as he grew suspicious that the police were alerted.
Dahi-Handi trick worked
PI Aghav told Karade to tell Mahesh that it won't be safe to exchange CD and money in the city due to tight security for Dahi-Handi. Police were checking vehicles and Nakabandi had been enforced. So it would be safer to do meet in Waluj and Mahesh agreed. Karade phoned Mahesh and told him to come with the CD to Trupti Guest House in Maharana Pratap Chowk in Waluj on Monday night, where he would give the bag stashed with cash and Mahesh would give the CD. Mahesh agreed to do so and came at the guest house and was nabbed by the crime branch cops.
Surprisingly, it was found during the preliminary interrogation that Mahesh has been working in the same company as a foreman with the fake identity of Satish Rodge. He was working in the company till the day he was arrested. His motive was to take undue advantage of Umesh Dashrathi's simple personality, PI Aghav added. No CD exists After nabbing the accused, Mahesh Chikankar, the police sought from him the CD on the basis of which he was seeking ransom. He admitted that he did not have any CD but said he believed that he would be able to extort money by merely issuing threat about the existence of such a CD. Looking at the message sent in English by Chikankar, who is not an highly educated, police police that he must be having some accomplices. The accused was living at Pavannagar, Ranjangaon posing as Satish Rodge on the basis of documents of his cousin. News-LT