MUMBAI: Nearly 24 hours after a 45-year-old businessman was kidnapped by three masked men from a busy street in Goregaon (east), the Dindoshi police tracked him down to Ghoti near Nashik. Police were still making enquiries with Rakesh Pandey at the time of going to press. They believe that the kidnapping could have been a fallout of a financial dispute.
On Sunday, around 7.45pm, Pandey, an high-end automobile dealer, halted his car near the Dindoshi bus depot and stepped out to make some purchases. When he returned to his car, another vehicle stopped near him. “Three men, wearing face masks, stepped out, caught hold of Pandey and dragged him. Pandey struggled to free himself but failed,” a police officer said. The men bundled Pandey into their car and drove away. The incident was captured on CCTV cameras along the stretch.

One of the bystanders, who had witnessed the kidnapping, called up police emergency number ‘100’. Dindoshi police were dispatched to the location and found Pandey’s abandoned Mercedes. Through RTO records of the vehicle’s number plate, the police got a name and address. But the man they spoke to said that he had sold the vehicle long back. The police then tracked down the buyer who had, in turn, had sold the Mercedes to Pandey just before the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
By then, cops on the spot retrieved Pandey’s phone from the Mercedes and went through his phone log. After speaking to some of his contacts, they got in touch with his estranged wife. “Pandey lived alone. His wife and son, who live in Malad (west) said that they had not received any ransom call,” said a police officer, requesting anonymity.
Investigators then ran Pandey’s name through their records and found that he had been booked in several cheating cases at Juhu, Kashimira and Kasarvadavli police stations.
Dindoshi police filed a kidnapping case, and started technical surveillance that pinpointed Pandey’s location near Nashik. On Monday, a police team went to Nashik and tracked down Pandey at Ghoti.
Regional additional commissioner Dilip Sawant confirmed that Pandey has been found and they are questioning him. Sawant added that they were looking for the kidnappers.

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