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Mumbai police hunt for ‘Irfan’, say Navy sailor was not abducted from Chennai airport, but have no idea how he reached Palghar

The deceased's cousin Vishal informed that the murderers deleted his Whatsapp or changed the settings such as the 'last seen' on his Whatsapp became unavailable. On dialling the number, a person named 'Irfan' picked up the phone. He then disconnected and switched off the cell phone.

Days after a 27-year-old Navy sailor named Suraj Kumar Dubey succumbed to his burn injuries, the Palghar police have begun the hunt for a man named ‘Irfan’. Dubey, a resident of Ranchi in Jharkhand, was abducted and set ablaze in Vevji village in Talasari Taluka in Palghar near the Maharashtra-Gujarat border.

As per reports, a missing complaint was filed by the deceased’s father Mithilesh Dubey with the Chainpur police on February 1. The police had been monitoring the two mobile phones of Suraj Kumar Dubey and got alerted when a SIM card was inserted into them. The deceased’s cousin Vishal informed that the murderers deleted his Whatsapp or changed the settings such as the ‘last seen’ on his Whatsapp became unavailable. On dialling the number, a person named ‘Irfan’ picked up the phone. He then disconnected and switched off the cell phone.

Mithilesh stated, “That was my son’s voice. He sounded petrified. He might have been trying to tell us that he is held captive by Irfan. The police must find out who is Irfan.” Dubey’s parents are of the belief that it was their son trying to give them a signal. However, CCTV footage of the crime spot has not thrown any clues for the police. “No suspected named Irfan has been identified. Our investigations are on in full swing”, Palghar SP Shinde said.

Suraj Dubey was not abducted from Chennai airport, alleges Palghar police

The Palghar police have alleged that Navy sailor Suraj Dubey was not abducted from Chennai, as previously stated. The cops stated that the victim was seen roaming the streets of Chennai. While speaking about the development, Palghar SP Datta Shinde claimed, “Dubey was not kidnapped outside Chennai airport; in fact, he was roaming freely outside Chennai airport, Metro station and a bus stand in the city. So, it will not be true to say that he was kidnapped just outside Chennai airport.”

Cops remain clueless about how Navy Sailor reached Mumbai

According to Shinde, the deceased Navy sailor was seen with his bag in some footage and without his red-coloured bag in other places. He was also seen withdrawing  ₹5000 from an ATM on February 1. The police concluded that Suraj Dubey was not kidnapped outside Chennai airport as he said in his testimony. The cops are however clueless as to how the Navy sailor reached Mumbai from Chennai, before ending up in a burnt state in Palghar forest. The cops are checking for booking details of airlines and Indian Railways to ascertain if he reached Mumbai via flight or railways.

The Palghar SP added, “We have recovered footage from around six CCTV cameras and have concluded that he was not kidnapped just outside the Chennai airport as he claimed.” Although the cops have claimed that they have sent forensic evidence from the crime scene to the Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratory (DFSL) in Kalina, Midday reported that the forensic body did not receive samples that could help determine the inflammable fluid used to burn the victim.

Suraj Dubey murder case: What we know so far

A case was registered against 3 unidentified people at the Gholwad police station under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 34 (acts done in furtherance of common intention), 302 (murder), 364 (kidnapping), and 392 (robbery). The police had initiated a probe in the case and began investigating how the Navy sailor was taken 1500kms away to a forest in Palghar from Chennai. The cops also analysed mobile call records and CCTV footage to get leads on the culprits.

Dubey had recently got engaged and was to be married in about three months’ time. He worked as a seaman at INS Agrani training school in Coimbatore. The victim, who was on a leave, had returned to Chennai on January 31 via a flight. At around 9 pm, the Navy sailor was threatened by three people with a revolver and his cellphone was snatched away. As per his claims, the unidentified men then forced Dubey into a white SUV and asked him to pay ₹10 lacs as ransom.

He was kept hostage at an unknown location in Chennai. After being detained there for 3 days, the Navy official was taken to a forest in Vevji village in Talasari Taluka in Palghar near the Maharashtra-Gujarat border on Friday (February 5) morning. He was doused with petrol and set ablaze by the three perpetrators. Dube suffered 90% burn injuries as he lay without clothes in the forest. On finding him naked, the locals informed the Vevji police station. Dubey was then admitted to a hospital in Dahanu, where his condition continued to worsen. He was rushed to the military hospital INHS Asvini and was declared dead on arrival.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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