Charred bodies of billionaire Vinod Broker, 83, and his trusted secretary, who went missing on Monday, found in Satara. 2 arrested, including a property dealer from Bandra who had agreed to buy the over 8,000 sq-ft sea-facing Juhu property
The mystery of missing city billionaire Vinod Gulabdas Broker, 83, has ended in a double murder. The completely charred bodies of Broker and his secretary of 25 years Usha Nair were found at Kasurdi village in Khandala taluka of Satara district on Friday.
The police on Saturday night declared that the case has been solved. They have arrested Bandra-based property dealer Ibrahim Ismail Sheikh (38) and Khar (east) resident Ravindra Shankar Shetty (37), and are looking for a third person, for murdering Broker and his secretary over his Rs 45 crore Juhu bungalow — Janki Kutir.
Barely a couple of months before he went missing on Monday, Broker had put the 3,100 sq ft plush sea-facing bungalow with a 4,800 sq ft garden up for sale. He was negotiating with a buyer willing to shell out Rs 45 crore for the property, before he went missing from his Pune home on Monday. Ibrahim Ismail Sheikh had approached Broker to purchase the bungalow.
Broker was the son of noted Gujarati writer and a Padmashree awardee Gulabdas Broker. A horticulturist by profession, Vinod and his brother Vijay had started an agricultural company Pocha Seeds several years ago. In 2007, he sold his father’s ancestral bungalow in Juhu to Mayfair Housing for Rs 21 crore. From the proceeds, he bought the six-bedroom Janki Kutir bungalow for 7.8 crore.
According to his friends, in 2008, Broker had sold another plot which used to house a petrol pump near Nanavati Hospital for Rs 23 crore. A couple of years later, he sold Pocha Seeds for Rs 7 crore. “He was a very wealthy man. Of late, he had made up his mind to sell Janki Kutir and move to Pune permanently,” said a friend.
Murdered in satara
According to the police, property dealer Ibrahim Sheikh had met Broker several times at his Konark Enclave Apartment on Bund Garden Road in Pune over the Juhu bungalow. A deal was almost finalised, but the housing society governing the bungalow refused to approve it.
Last week, Broker had invited Ibrahim Sheikh to his Pune residence to work out a solution to the problem. Ibrahim, along with Shetty and one more person, met Broker on Monday, and asked to see original documents of the Juhu property.
According to the police, Ibrahim then convinced Broker and Nair to accompany him in his car to Satara district on the pretext that he wanted to show them a good property to invest in. The property dealer and two others then strangulated Broker and Nair to death when the vehicle was passing the new Katraj tunnel.
Upon reaching Kasurdi village in Satara, they dumped the bodies near a brick kiln, poured petrol on them and torched their bodies. The trio returned to Konark Enclave, collected the original papers of Broker’s Juhu bungalow, and drove Broker’s Maruti SX4 to Mumbai. On reaching the city, they sold off the car.
Hunt for the missing
Immediately after Broker and Nair went missing on Monday, his daughters, who knew that he was in the middle of finalising a deal to sell off the Juhu bungalow, alerted the police. A search was launched in Mumbai and Pune. The police suspected that the two had been kidnapped over Broker’s immense wealth. On Friday, Satara police flashed a message that two burnt bodies have been found at Kasurdi village.
A team of Pune police, who were searching for Broker, rushed to Satara with family members of Nair. Her son recognised the earrings on one of the bodies as that of his mother. Broker’s family has been informed and his body was taken to Pune. The two accused will be produced in court on Sunday.