Ladkat murder: 14 yrs on, police get custody

After a wait of about 14 years, the Pune police Crime Branch on Wednesday received the custody of Omprakash alias Babloo Srivastava, a former aide of mafia don Dawood Ibrahim, in May 1998 sensational kidnapping and murder of Sagar Ladkat, son of a businessman.

Sagar (24), son of businessman Balasaheb Ladkat, was allegedly kidnapped on May 22 in 1998 and was reportedly murdered following a scuffle. Probe by various investigating agencies had revealed that it was a well planned conspiracy hatched by a gang.

Police had till now arrested eight persons out of 14 accused. The interrogation of arrested accused had revealed that Srivastava, who was then lodged in jail, was operating the gang and was in touch with the arrested accused before the kidnapping, police inspector Sunil Patil of the crime branch said.

"We had been asking for Srivastava's transfer since his name came up in the investigation. But there were many issues involved. He was currently lodged in the Bareilly jail and was recently convicted in some other case," PI Patil said.

Inspector Sher Singh of Bareilly police said, "We had received a communication about the transfer. We came here with him (Srivastava) along with a team of about 20 personnel."

Patil said, "He was to be produced before the court on Thursday, but the Uttar Pradesh police reached here on Wednesday. So Srivastava was produced before the Cantonment court and was remanded in police custody for a day. He will be produced again on Thursday." Patil was to interrogate Srivastava, who is reportedly accompanied by a team of five lawyers.

Sources said that in the past when the crime branch asked for Srivastava's custody, the defence lawyers argued that at the time of the conspiracy he was in jail. A senior Pune crime branch officer said, "We have many evidences to prove that Shrivastava was in touch with these accused from jail."

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