Mumbai: In a 10-day low-key operation, Zion Police rescued a 47-year-old man from Telangana who was allegedly kidnapped for ransom in Mumbai after returning from Dubai. Police said he was being held hostage in Pondicherry and are looking for two men who allegedly abducted him because he owed them money.
Police said Shankar Mathmalla, who worked in Dubai, landed in Mumbai on June 22. He was supposed to take a bus from Zion to Telangana but never got there. His son Harish reached Mumbai and questioned the bus operator, who told him that Shankar had booked a ticket but canceled it.
Even as Harish was trying to get clues about the whereabouts of his missing father, Shankar called him on June 24 and told him he was in a hospital in Chennai. He hung up before Harish could ask any further questions, after which he rushed to Zion police station and filed a missing person report.
A police officer said Harish received multiple calls from an unknown number on June 28. The caller said he had Shankar in his custody and demanded Rs 15 lakh in return for his release. Harish’s complaint was immediately turned into a kidnapping complaint. “We then started tracking the location of the cellphone and also obtained further details of the number,” the officer said.
He added that by analyzing the detailed call records of the number where the ransom call came from, the investigation team realized that the kidnapper had exchanged calls with Shankar on several occasions in the past. . This led police to believe the kidnappers knew him. Meanwhile, using the number’s registration details, the police identified the accused and dispatched a team to Pondicherry, where the number’s last location had been recorded in cell location mapping.
During a week-long investigation in conjunction with local police, Sion police were able to identify some of the accused’s family members and began calling them. Simultaneously, they were also constantly tracking Shankar’s cell phone. On Saturday, they suddenly discovered its location, which was near Pondicherry Railway Station.
“We rushed to the station and walked the whole area until we found him. He was seriously injured and we took him to a local hospital after which we brought him back to Mumbai on Sunday,” an officer said. At first glance, he said, it appears the defendant panicked when we started contacting his family members and abandoned him at the train station. “Shankar also mentioned he owed the defendant money and we are working on that angle more,” the officer said.
Senior Police Inspector Manoj Hirlekar confirmed that Shankar was safely brought back to Mumbai. “He is in hospital receiving treatment for his injuries. We have yet to record an official statement from him. An investigation is underway to locate and apprehend the defendants,” Hirlekar said.