In his dying declaration to the Gholvad police, Leading Seaman Surajkumar Dubey said he was abducted by 3 unknown men outside Chennai airport at 11pm on January 30 in a white SUV, said API Sarjerao Kumbhar. The armed men allegedly demanded a ransom of Rs 10 lakh from him and kept him captive for three days at an unknown place in Chennai. When he still refused to pay up, they brought him by road to Vaiji-Veljipada jungle in Gholvad, Palghar, and set him ablaze with petrol on Friday.
Kin got no ransom call, cops probe personal angle
Police said they are baffled as to why the abductors chose a jungle in faraway Palghar, a distance of almost 1,500km from Chennai. They suspect the ransom demand may have been an excuse used by the accused and are investigating any personal angle in the crime. Police said the autopsy report is awaited.
The men fled from the spot and Dubey was found in a semiconscious state about three hours later by some locals who had entered the jungle to gather wood. They informed the police, who rushed him to Sion Hospital.
Dubey, who had joined Indian Navy in August 2012, was posted at INS Agrani in Coimbatore. After spending around two weeks with his family in Kolhua village in Jharkhand’s Palamu district, he took a flight from Ranchi to Chennai on January 30.
According to his father, Dubey had last spoken to his parents from Hyderabad airport. Thereafter, his two cellphones were switched off. He was to report to work on February 1. A missing complaint was registered with Chainpur police station. Palamu SP Sanjiv Kumar had then stated the complaint was being investigated. The family had not received any ransom call.
In his dying statement, Dubey also said his cellphones were taken away. The men demanded Rs 10 lakh from him and on February 4, they drove and reached Palghar the next day. While Dubey did not know where he was being taken, he told the police the road travel took over 25 to 26 hours.
A case has been registered under Indian Penal Code sections 302 for murder, 364 for kidnapping and ransom, and 392 for robbery, and under the Arms Act against unknown persons.
Police said they are examining closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of the highway for leads on the vehicle used for the crime. They suspect a stolen vehicle was used to carry it out.
Dubey was unable to provide the description of the men as his condition was critical. He managed to indicate they were in their 20s and 30s though.
(With inputs from Ranchi)