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Manhunt For The Killers Of A Navy Sailor

Money Dispute Seems To Be The Reason Behind The Murder

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
I am a mumbai based journalist having worked with many daily newspapers.

INDIA. Mumbai: A manhunt is on with ten police teams on the trail of killers of a 27-year-old Indian Navy sailor (leading seaman), who was set ablaze in a forest in Baijalpada near Gholwad, in Talasari Taluka of Palghar district in Maharashtra on Friday (February 5).

The Navy sailor named Suraj Kumar Mithilesh Dubey succumbed to his injuries after being abducted and set ablaze in Palghar.

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Dubey was a resident of District Palamu, Ranchi in Jharkhand. He had recently got engaged and was to be married shortly. The engagement ceremony was performed on January 15, during which he was given nearly Rs 9 lakh by his father-in-law, the Palghar police statement said.

He was working as a seaman at INS Agrani, the Indian Navy’s leadership training establishment in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. He was on a leave and had returned to Chennai on January 30 by a flight from Ranchi. At around 9 pm on that night, he was reportedly threatened by three people with a revolver and his cell phone (worth Rs 5000/-) was snatched away. The unidentified men then forced him into a white-coloured SUV and asked him to pay Rs.10 lakh as ransom.

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He was kept hostage at an unknown location in Chennai. After being detained there for 3 days, he was dumped into a vehicle on February 04, in the evening at about 4 PM in Chennai. He was taken to a forest at Baijalpada, in the morning on February 05, where he was doused with petrol and set ablaze by the three perpetrators. He suffered 90% burn injuries as he lay without clothes in the forest.

On finding him naked, the locals informed the Gholwad police station. Initially, he was admitted to a cottage hospital in Dahanu. But his condition worsened and as such he was rushed to the Naval Hospital INHS Ashvini at Colaba in South Mumbai. However, he was declared dead on arrival.

A case lodged in Palghar

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An FIR (No.06/2021) was registered against three unidentified persons at the Gholwad police station under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 34 (acts done in furtherance of common intention, 364(kidnapping),392 (robbery), and 307 (intention to kill). Section 302 (murder) was added after he was declared dead.  Besides, the accused were also booked under sections 3 and 25 of the Indian Arms Act.

The police have initiated a probe led by Sub-Divisional Police Officer Dhanaji Nalawade and are investigating how the deceased sailor was brought to Palghar, from Chennai, which is 1500 km away. Besides, 10 teams, with one officer and 10 constables in each team, have been formed to nab the culprits, under the overall supervision of Additional Superintendent of Police Prakash Gaikwad. The police are analyzing mobile call records and CCTV footage to get leads on the culprits.

Palghar Superintendent of Police Dattatray Shinde told the Transcontinental Times that Suraj Kumar was abducted near the Chennai airport. After he was found in the jungle in Palghar on Friday, the local people informed the police. Then he was brought to the cottage hospital and was later taken to Mumbai. The abductors had demanded a ransom of Rs 10 lakh to release him, but the demand was not fulfilled. Enraged at this, the abductors set the man on fire and left him to die in the jungle.

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A complaint was lodged with Naval authorities

As per the Palghar police, Suraj Kumar’s father Mithilesh had complained about January 31, with Commandant Ashok Roy of INS Agrani when his phone call to his son on his mobile, went unanswered. He had also lodged a complaint with the Pahalpur police station in Ranchi. When Suraj Kumar’s cousin brother Chandan Kumar called him on his mobile phone on 01 February, it was initially ringing but was later found to be switched off. Subsequently from the call records, it was noticed that Suraj Kumar had telephoned some companies in Mumbai and Bhopal related to share market deals on that phone.

Money transactions

The examination of his bank account with State Bank of India, Colaba branch, Mumbai, revealed that he had withdrawn Rs 8,43,000 for share trading. Also, he had withdrawn Rs 5000 from another account (SBI, IN) from ATM in Chennai on February 01. He had also taken a hand loan of Rs 6 lakh from his office colleagues, who were pestering him for repayment of that amount. The Palghar police are in the process of gathering more information.

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