Navy Sailor Found Dead in Maha May Have Staged Abduction: Police

Initial investigation had suggested that Suraj Kumar Dubey was abducted and murdered in a failed extortion attempt.

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Suraj Kumar Dubey died at a Mumbai hospital from injuries sustained after he was set on fire in a forest in the adjoining Palghar district. 
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In an unprecedented twist, the Palghar police on Wednesday, 25 February, said that the navy sailor who was reportedly abducted from Chennai and set ablaze in Palghar in a failed kidnapping attempt may have made up the abduction story due to financial woes.

The police said that while it’s still unclear as who set him ablaze in the forest, the investigating team is looking into a probable suicide angle.

The development came as Palghar police was investigating the alleged kidnapping and murder case of 27-year-old Suraj Kumar Dubey who, according to initial investigation, was kidnapped and murdered over a ransom of Rs 10 lakh.

WHAT THE INITIAL INVESTIGATION SUGGESTED

Dattatreya Shinde, Palghar Superintendent of Police, had initially revealed that unidentified men abducted Dubey at gunpoint outside Chennai airport and kept him hostage for three days.

The alleged kidnappers, who had demanded Rs 10 lakh in ransom from the Indian Navy, believed they would not receive it, following which they took Dubey to a forest in Palghar's Gholwad area and set him ablaze, it was earlier said.

The Indian Navy sailor deployed on INS Agrani was found in Palghar with 90 percent burns on the morning of 5 February. Dubey, who was on leave from the unit at the time, was brought to INHS Asvini for treatment. He succumbed to the burns two days later.

WHAT’S THE NEW ANGLE AS PER THE POLICE?

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Palghar SP Dattatray Shinde said that a probe into his financial status revealed Dubey was investing in stock market and owed over Rs 17 lakh to others.

While Dubey claimed to have been abducted by three men at Chennai airport, CCTV footage showed that he was alone, the police said.

“He had invested in stock market and had lost a lot of money. We have included all his bank statements into the official probe. He had also borrowed money from his friends and his father-in-law. He had made enquiries in over 13 banks to take loans,” Shinde said.

The police further said that he was staying at a lodge in Vellore following which he travelled to Chennai.

“From visuals retrieved from a petrol pump, Dubey could be seen buying Diesel worth Rs 300 and heading to Vevaji village in Palghar,” Shinde revealed.

“It is clear from the investigation that he was not abducted. He was neither abducted in Chennai nor Maharashtra for any alleged extortion attempt,” he added.

Shinde said that the investigating team came to the conclusion after thorough investigation of the CCTV footage retrieved from the lodge Dubey stayed at, bus stops and the petrol pumps.

However, whether Dubey killed himself is still unclear, as further investigation is underway in the matter.

(With inputs from Ritvick AB.)

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