MUMBAI: Crime branch on Tuesday cracked a 20-year-old kidnapping-and-murder case, which was closed twice after police failed to trace the suspect. Main accused Sajjid Abdul Rashid Arai (44), on the run since 1999, was staying in Shrivardhan in Raigad with a fictitious identity.
Unit IX, which was discreetly working on the case, got a tip-off that Aria often travelled to Mumbai for his fishing business. “After keeping a watch for some time, our team, led by inspector Sanjeev Gawde and Asha Korke, laid a trap and arrested Arai, who flashed ID cards showing his name as Moin Ahmed Kadri. He admitted he was Arai after sustained interrogation,” said senior inspector Mahesh Desai.
In 1999, a senior PWD official from Patna, Bihar, lodged an FIR with Juhu police, that his son, Amit Kumar Ramavtar, studying at IIT-B, had gone missing, and some people demanded a ransom of Rs 5 crore. After bargaining, the amount was reduced to Rs 5 lakh, but the accused got scared as the father was influential. He and his accomplice forced Amit to drink liquor, killed him and dumped his body in a creek in Vasai, and fled.
Juhu police had registered a kidnapping case as the body was not found. In 2000, they closed the case, classifying it as ‘A summary’, that is when police submit a detail investigation report in court that the case is true, but undetected despite efforts. But the father, Ramavtar, approached courts. In 2007, on a court direction, the case was handed over to crime branch. In 2008, crime branch submitted an ‘A summary’ report and closed investigations too, said DCP Akbar Pathan.
After police arrested Arai, he told them that the victim, studying with them, said he was the son of an influential person. He and his friend Abbas thought the victim was rich and decided to kidnap him to extort money. But Arai said that they developed cold feet at the last minute and strangled the victim, dumped his body, and fled. Arai said that while he left Mumbai, Abbas met with an accident and died, said Desai.
A police team will on Thursday visit Vasai, along with the accused, to identify the spot. Arai had been arrested for murder by Ratnagiri police in 2013.