Mumbai Local

Software helped Palghar cops crack kidnap case

On Thursday, the Palghar police used software that records mobile phone conversations to crack a kidnapping case in Dahanu.

Diya Nahar, the 11-year-old daughter of a prominent local jeweller, had been kidnapped, and her mother, Asha Nahar, had received a demand for a Rs. five crore ransom. The cal had come in from Diya’s phone number, so did not offer any leads for the police. Police Inspector Ashok Honmane, head of the Palghar crime branch, said, “We suspected that it was an insider job, as the child was sleeping when she was kidnapped.” The police got the names of all the past and present domestic workers in the Nahar household, and the employees of the family’s shop, as well as those of friends of the family.

“When we questioned Jairam, the present cook employed in the Nahar household,” Mr. Honmane said, “he named Shiva Bhagat as a possible suspect as he was sacked by the Nahars after working with them for nearly 10 years. He told us that Shiva had eloped with a girl from the local fishing community, and to avoid the outrage from her family, Nahar had sacked Shiva from the job in 2011.”

Expecting that whoever had abducted the girl would call again to arrange for delivery of the ransom, the police installed call recording software on Ms. Nahar’s phone and instructed her to play along with whatever the kidnapper said when he called again. Sure enough, the call came in, and was recorded. The recording was played repeatedly for Ms. Nahar; she eventually identified it as being Shiva Bhagat’s voice.

The police contacted Bhagat’s current employer, a Palghar-based caterer, and got the cook’s number from him, which they placed under surveillance. “When we called Shiva on his number, he said he was in Mumbai, but our Cyber Cell team tracked his location to Palghar,” said Mr Honmane. Police teams in Palghar and Saphale were alerted, and they tracked Bhagat to a rented apartment in Palghar’s Navli area. Sensing trouble, he had destroyed Diya’s sim card to prevent the police from tracking his location before attempting to flee. “We rescued Diya, who was confined to the bathroom in the flat, and she has been reunited with her parents.”

Sharda Raut, Palghar Superintendent of Police, announced a cash reward of Rs. 25,000 to the police team for swiftly solving the case, rescuing the victim, and making an arrest, all in less than six hours after the crime.

The writer is a freelance journalist


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 4:05:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/Software-helped-Palghar-cops-crack-kidnap-case/article14502015.ece

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