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Dubai: Merchant sends Dh1.38 million worth of diamonds, gets caught in extortion plot

Jairambhai Ankolia, a 39-year-old diamond trader, had no idea that he would be implicated in a heinous robbery, kidnapping, and extortion scheme when he sent Dh1.38 million worth of diamonds from India to his office in Dubai.

The Mumbai police have detained three people in connection with the case. They are residents of Surat, a city in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

According to police, Ankolia first contacted an acquaintance in Surat, hoping she would transport the diamonds to Dubai as she happened to be a frequent visitor to the UAE.

However, the woman promised to send the precious stones through one of her employees, who she said was due to travel to Dubai from Mumbai on September 20.

Ankolia was assured that he didn’t need to be concerned because Vijay was a reliable employee.

According to a police officer who looked into the matter, it turned out that the woman had concocted a nefarious scheme with Vijay to steal the precious stones and earn more money through extortion.

Ankolia sent the diamonds to Vijay at the Mumbai Airport early on Tuesday morning, confident they would be in good hands.

However, Vijay did not take the flight to Dubai. He snuck out of the airport, where the other two suspects greeted him as part of a plan. When Ankolia called Vijay to ask if he had boarded the plane, he pretended he was still in the immigration queue.

Ankolia assumed that Vijay had boarded the airplane as his calls went unanswered.

The diamond merchant was driving back when he got a call from a man who claimed that customs officers had detained Vijay.

Ankolia was informed that the “officers” would release the Vijay if they received payment.

Ankolia was instructed to meet the customs officers at a guest house in Mira Road to resolve the matter.

Suspecting foul play, he alerted Mumbai Police which quickly assembled a team.

Ankolia informed the caller that he would send a friend with the money to the guest house under the police’s orders. However, no sooner did Ankolia’s friend reach the guest house. He was overpowered and detained.

Ankolia received a call threatening to kill the man unless he paid the demanded ransom of Rs 8 million (Dh 336,000).

The three suspects, including Vijay, were taken into custody by a team from the Mumbai Crime Branch led by assistant police inspector V. Raskar.

Additionally, the diamonds were found. The accused appeared in court and were ordered to remain in police custody until September 28.

A hunt has now been launched for the woman. BKM/ Expat Media


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