Sister ‘could have saved Aditya from kidnappers’ (Update)

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Adithya RankaAditya Ranka, the teenage son of a south Mumbai diamond broker, who was kidnapped and killed in a plot devised by his own cousin Himanshu Ranka and his accomplice Brijesh Sanghvi to settle a cricket bet, could possibly have been alive had his elder sister accompanied him when he met his kidnapper, police sources have said.

Aditya wanted his sister to accompany him, but so some reason, she did not. CCTV footage obtained exclusively by Mumbai Mirror shows Aditya and his sister at the bottom of their building moments before he was abducted. But, while his 15-year-old sister turned left, the 13-year-old turned right, walking alone towards the waiting Sanghvi.

On Monday, around 10:30 am, three calls were made to the landline number of Aditya’s residence at Khetwadi, Girgaum. The first call was answered by Aditya himself; the caller, Sanghvi, who was waiting to kidnap him, told Aditya that his father had sent some keys which he wanted to hand over. He asked Aditya to come to apaan shop at the corner of the street.

Informing his mother Chandrika about the call, Aditya said he didn’t want to step out alone and demanded that his sister accompany him. Fifteen minutes later when Aditya did not show up, Sanghvi called the landline again. This time Aditya’s mother Chandrika answered the call.

Sanghvi told her about the keys and said he was waiting for Aditya. Chandrika then told Aditya to go and collect the keys, but as he was stubborn and insisted on his sister accompanying him, she asked her daughter to go with Aditya.

CCTV footage shows Aditya first coming out of the building and waiting for his sister. Seconds later she stepped out and the two stood at the gate for a moment, talking about something and pointing in opposite directions. Then, as Aditya turned right and walked away, his sister headed left. Had she accompanied Aditya, investigators say, perhaps the plan might have been foiled.

Aditya meet Sanghvi and did not hesitate to get into the car, as Sanghvi was known to him as a friend of his cousin Himanshu. Sanghvi drove away and called Himanshu, asking for Aditya’s father Jitendra’s number. Himanshu, however, could not recollect the number and asked Sanghvi to call the landline again.

It is this third call made by Sanghvi, investigators say, that ought to have raised the suspicions of Chandrika. It should have made her wonder that if her husband had sent Sanghvi to deliver some keys, why would he ask for the mobile number. Chandrika, however, gave Sanghvi Jitendra’s mobile number, and the ransom call was made.

Jitendra told police he had struck a deal recently for a profit of Rs 30 lakh. Himanshu knew about the deal, and thus the ransom amount demanded was Rs 30 lakh. The plan to kidnap Aditya was made on Saturday, when Himanshu and Sanghvi lost a bet in a cricket match and were under pressure to pay Rs 10 lakh.

After kidnapping Aditya, at some point Sanghvi panicked. He drove Aditya to Khopoli and allegedly stabbed him to death in the car, even as Himanshu was accompanying Jitendra to the police station. Sanghvi then drove to the Mumbai Pune Expressway, where he set the body ablaze. On Monday night, he returned and met Himanshu at the police station.

The accused were caught when Jitendra, who was accompanying Himanshu and Sanghvi in the same white Honda City in which Aditya was killed, spotted a pair of slippers he had bought for Aditya in the car.

Investigations also revealed that the prime accused, Himanshu, is not the biological son of Adiya’s uncle, but was adopted when he was two. According to a relative, though adopted Himashu was looked upon as their own by the entire family, and not treated differently. They, however, did not approve of the company he kept, but had never imagined he would go to this extent.

“Both the accused were produced in a local court which remanded them in police custody till May 24,” said Senior Inspector Rajendra Chavan of V P Road Police Station. Meanwhile, Dr T P Lahane, dean, JJ Hospital, said, “The post-mortem report reveals that Aditya had severe head injuries and multiple stab injuries on his body. He was first killed and then the body was burnt.”

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