The real estate agent, who plotted the murder of Pune-based businessman Vinod Broker and his secretary Usha Nair last week, had planned to use an imposter to complete the purchase of his sprawling Juhu bungalow, according to the Pune police.
“They saw the original documents of the ownership of the bungalow, then made legal documents and a memorandum of understanding when they met Broker in Mumbai,” said Bhanupratap Barge, senior police inspector with the social security cell of the Pune crime branch.
Broker, 84, and Nair, 51, went missing on April 30, and their burned bodies were discovered in Satara on Friday.
“They asked Broker to bring the original documents and saw his signature, thumb impression, so they could send an impostor to register the property on their name after killing him,” Barge said.
The police officer said that “when we asked Shaikh (the real estate agent) how they could use an impostor to do this, he told us that it can be done easily in Mumbai. There are some people who are in this business and it is not difficult to do.”
The police suspect that the plotter and his acquaintances may have done such deals in the past, although it is not known yet whether there is any case on record. Ibrahim Shaikh, 38, and his accomplice Ravindra Reddy, 37, were arrested on Saturday in Bandra by the Mumbai crime branch unit IX and handed over to the Pune police.
On Sunday, the Mumbai crime branch detained a third person, Nitin Dyabhai Bhatiya, 51, for the double murder. They traced Bhatiya to Vakola, in Santa Cruz, after his name was revealed during interrogation of Shaikh and Reddy.
Bhatiya is a resident of Kannamwar Nagar, Vikhroli, and worked as a driver with Girikand Travels after taking voluntary retirement from the BEST bus undertaking. He will also be handed over to the Pune police.
According to investigations by the Pune police, Shaikh, had been negotiating with Broker to buy his sprawling bungalow, in Juhu for some months. It is said that the deal was struck for Rs40 crore, but was not signed as the Janki Kutir association of housing societies, under which the bungalow is registered, refused to give a no-objection for the deal.
The investigations, helped by family members and the housemaid revealed that Broker and his secretary had left the house in Konark Enclave, Koregaon along with Shaikh and Reddy in their vehicle.
They had arranged an Innova from Mumbai and carried two sacks, some nylon rope and petrol with them. They even changed the number plate of the vehicle before going to Pune.
Senior inspector Barge said it appears that they reached Broker’s place at 10.30am. But a lawyer and a friend of Broker who were supposed to come did not turn up. Then Broker suggested that they go and see his sister’s property in Pune. Shaikh apparently asked Broker to carry along his original documents, just in case they meet the lawyer and could complete the deal.
In the vehicle, Shaikh convinced Broker to take a look at another property and headed to Kasurdi in Satara. While passing through Katraj tunnel, they strangulated Broker and Nair in the vehicle.
They subsequently burned the bodies at an isolated spot in Shirval village, Khandala taluka.