Sunil Mane, senior inspector (Unit X) crime branch, said they arrested Patel along with Karan Parmar alias Gopal (27) and Rajubhai Agat (35), all three Gujarat residents, for Panchal’s murder.(Representational Image)
THE MUMBAI Police Crime Branch on Thursday arrested three persons in connection with the murder of a 58-year-old Air India employee, who had been missing since September. According to police, the main accused, Jayantibhai Patel (64), a Gujarat-based money lender, along with two others, allegedly murdered Deepak Panchal after they could not recover Rs 54 lakh from a borrower for whom Panchal had stood surety.
The Indian Express had, on December 12, reported about the body of Panchal being found in a gunny bag in a Gujarat dam.
Sunil Mane, senior inspector (Unit X) crime branch, said they arrested Patel along with Karan Parmar alias Gopal (27) and Rajubhai Agat (35), all three Gujarat residents, for Panchal’s murder. “Panchal had taken Rs 5 lakh in commission for the loan,” Mane said.
Police said on September 29, Patel asked the person who had borrowed money from him to repay. The borrower, who was in Vadodara at the time, told Patel he was in Mumbai. When Patel and two other accused reached the city, the borrower claimed he had just left the city. Patel then called Panchal, on whose behest he had given the loan. “They picked up Panchal outside his Andheri (East) residence, in an i10 car and took him to Vadodara,” an officer said.
“Along the way, the accused beat him up. Once they reached the farmhouse of Patel’s friend in Vadodara, they beat up Panchal again...Panchal, who had diabetes and other health issues, had passed away before morning,” said Assistant Police Inspector Dhanraj Choudhary. The accused then covered his body and took it to Patel’s farmhouse in Morbi. They put the body in a gunny bag and put an iron block to make the bag sink, covered it with clothes and dumped it in Brahmani dam, some distance from Patel’s farmhouse, said police. Later, the bag resurfaced in the dam and was spotted by local residents, who informed the police.
Mane said in addition to Rs 5 lakh that Panchal got from the accused, he had also borrowed over Rs 1 lakh for a tooth surgery. Panchal, who was unmarried, had retired as an engineer with Air India, and joined the airline again on a contract basis. Panchal’s body was handed over to his elder brother Suresh and nephew Vishal. “Uncle resided with us. We don’t know the three people arrested for his murder. Police have told us that they are interrogating the accused and would let us know the motive behind the murder in a day or two,” said Vishal.