In a shocking incident, an Indian Navy sailor from Jharkhand, who was kidnapped in Chennai, was brought to Palghar where he was allegedly set afire for refusing to pay the ransom amount, the police said on Saturday.
According to the investigating officer at the Gholvad police station, Sarjerao Kumbhar, the victim was found early on Friday in a half-burnt, semi-nude condition from a forested area. He was rushed to the Cottage Hospital in Dahanu and then to the Naval Hospital in Mumbai, where he succumbed to his injuries during treatment on Friday.
In his dying declaration, the victim -- identified as Surajkumar M. Dube (27) from Daltonganj in Jharkhand who was serving on INS Agrani -- said that he was kidnapped in Chennai on January 30 where he was held captive by three unknown persons.
The deceased sailor said that after completing his leave, he took a flight from Ranchi to Chennai to join duty on the morning of January 30, but was waylaid at gunpoint from outside the airport from where he was whisked away to an unknown location where he was kept for three days.
From Chennai, he was taken 1,500-km away into the forests near Gholvad in Palghar where the kidnappers asked him to arrange for a ransom of Rs 10 lakh.
"Since he refused to pay the ransom, they poured petrol on him and set him on fire at gunpoint in the jungles before decamping from there. Some locals found Dubey in a half-burnt condition and alerted us," said Kumbhar.
Taking serious note of the ghastly incident, the police have registered a case of murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping for ransom, robbery and sections of the Arms Act and launched manhunt to nab the culprits.
The police are scanning the CCTV footages from Gholvad and surrounding areas, checking mobile call records besides pressing informers into service to get clues on the miscreants.
"We are also trying to ascertain if the kidnappers are from this region as we don't know why the victim was brought from Tamil Nadu to Palghar, which is on the Gujarat border, and using what mode of transportation," said another official.
Dube's body has been sent for an autopsy and his family in Jharkhand and the Indian Navy authorities in Mumbai have been informed of the tragedy. Further details are awaited