Deep in debt, man gets 13-year-old cousin abducted and killed

Trying to recover the Rs 10L he lost in cricket betting, the accused plotted to kidnap his diamond broker uncle’s son for ransom. Police on Tuesday arrested a 28-year-old man on charges of kidnapping and killing his 13-year-old cousin.

The police said the prime accused Himanshu Ranka and his friend Brijesh Sanghvi, 25, had lost close to Rs 10 lakh each in cricket betting. In order to pay off their debts, they decided to kidnap Ranka’s cousin Aditya and demand a ransom of Rs 30 lakh from his diamond broker father Jitendra.

According to the police, around noon on Monday, Brijesh called the Ranka household pretending to be a customer and asked Jintendra’s wife to send Aditya to the street corner to take a bunch of keys from him. An unsuspecting Aditya got into the waiting car, in which Brijesh and another person were sitting. Brijesh told Aditya they will have to drive some distance to get the keys.

Police, who pieced to together the sequence of events based on Himanshu’s interrogation, said Brijesh made the ransom from an unknown number when he was somewhere near Sion. “Jitendra thought it was a prank call and disconnected it,” said an officer. “He did not take the Rs 30 lakh demand seriously as he doesn’t earn much. He is not a trader, but only a broker. Nonetheless, he called his wife who told him Aditya had gone with someone he sent. That is when Jintendra realised his son had been kidnapped and he came to us.”

All the while Himanshu was with Jitendra, pretending to console his uncle. But when he saw that the police was intensifying efforts to trace the phone, he realised that if Aditya was rescued, he will definitely identify Brijesh. “So he called Brijesh, who had by then driven Aditya to Pali in Raigad district, and told him to kill the boy,” said the officer.