Mumbai: Two months after a retired Air India engineer, Deepak Panchal, 59, went missing, the city crime branch has solved the mystery of his disappearance and on Thursday, arrested three persons for killing him. According to the crime branch, Panchal was abducted by a moneylender over a dispute and killed, after which his body was thrown into the Brahmani Dam in Morbi, Gujarat. The arrested accused have been identified as Jayantibhai Patel, 64, a moneylender from Morbi, and his two associates, Gopal alias Karan Parmar, 27, and Rajubhai Agath, 35.
Panchal, an Andheri resident, had been missing since September 29. He left home to meet someone and failed to return. His family approached Andheri police station and registered a missing person complaint. During the investigation, it had been revealed that Panchal was kidnapped by the three accused, after which an offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section of kidnapping (365) was registered against the trio and the Unit 10 of the crime branch began its parallel probe.
Meanwhile, on November 23, the Halavad Police recovered the decomposed body of a man from Brahmani Dam in Gujarat. The body had been stuffed into a gunny bag, to which a cement block was attached and tossed into the dam. Police also found an air ticket from the bag, behind which was handwritten the phone number of the agent who, it turned out, had sold Panchal the ticket.
Gujarat Police informed their counterparts in Mumbai and sections of murder (302) and causing the disappearance of evidence (201) were added to the First Information Report (FIR) registered at Andheri police station. A crime branch team had been following the accused for the last two months, finally arrested the trio from Junagadh in Gujarat.
According to the crime branch, around six months ago, Jayantibhai had lent Rs 54 lakh to Panchal's friend, a transaction in which Panchal had acted as a guarantor and middle man and received a commission of Rs 5 lakh. A few days before he went missing, Panchal too had borrowed Rs 1.5 lakh from Jayantibhai for dental treatment.
Jayantibhai wanted Panchal's friend to repay the loan but the borrower kept avoiding Jayantibhai. On September 29, his friend called Jayantibhai to Mumbai to collect his money. But when Jayantibhai reached Mumbai, the borrower claimed to have left for Vadodara. An enraged Jayantibhai asked Panchal to meet him and when the latter showed up, he was abducted, as he was the guarantor.
" He was taken to Vadodara and during the journey, he was assaulted by the three accused, and he died. The trio then took him to Jayantibhai's farmhouse in Morbi and disposed of the body," said the deputy commissioner of police, Datta Nalavade.