Abducted AP jeweller's body found in Ghats

Abducted AP jeweller's body found in Ghats

A leading jeweller from Andhra Pradesh who went missing Tuesday morning in the City was found murdered at Charmadi Ghat on Thursday.

Manoj Kumar Grandhi, Chairman of Vaibhav Group in Vizag, who was visiting the City, is suspected to have been strangled by a cab driver and his two associates, City Police Commissioner B G Jyothiprakash Mirji told a press conference on Thursday.

“The suspects murdered Grandhi for gain and threw the body down a hillside at Charmadi Ghat,” Mirji said.

The suspects are K V Ravikumar, 26, of Singasandra, Shivakumar, 26, and Krishne Gowda, 28, both from CS Pura in Tumkur district. They were employed by a City car rental firm, Car Zone Rent (CZR).

Grandhi, 44, flew here from Hyderabad on Monday. He was carrying three bags containing jewellery. As arranged by his company, Grandhi was picked up by Ravikumar, the cab driver deputed by CZR, who dropped him at ITC Gardenia hotel. Ravi Kumar, who drove Grandhi around in the City, grew curious when the businessman told him to keep an eye on the bags in the car.

Curiosity drove Ravi Kumar to check the bags in Grandhi’s absence. Finding the bags full with jewellery, he decided to kill Grandhi and steal the jewellery. He drafted two of his friends into the conspiracy.

Grandhi was to fly to Mumbai at 7:30 am on Tuesday, to discuss with a client  a shooting schedule for an advert for his company’s products. Ravikumar picked up Grandhi at 4:15 am and drove to Jayanagar fourth T block where Grandhi wanted to see a plot. Before the car headed towards BIA from Jayanagar, Ravikumar got the trip sheet signed by Grandhi.

On the way to the airport, Ravikumar stopped at BDA Junction flyover at Hebbal, where his co-conspirators were waiting in a black Corolla car.

Ravikumar stopped the car, told Grandhi there was a problem, and got out of the car. Soon, Shivakumar and Krishne Gowda opened the rear door, and at gun point forced Grandhi to shift into their car. They drove to Railway Parallel Road at Sheshadripuram, while Ravikumar followed in his car.

The trio stuffed cloth rags into the Grandhi’s mouth and strangled him with a nylon wire.

After the killing, the Shivakumar and Krishne Gowda drove with the body towards Chikmagalur, while Ravikumar, in order to deflect attention, drove to BIA, ensured that the entries were done at the check post, called up his office and claimed to have dropped Grandhi. He told his office that he was tired and wanted to go home.

The client waited for Grandhi at Mumbai international airport till 10:30 am and called up his men at Vaizag who thought Grandhi might have missed the flight or cancelled his trip.

They verified at the airport and came to know he did not board the flight and tension mounted. They grew suspicious and informed police in the evening. Under intensive questioning by police, Ravikumar broke down and admitted to the murder. Police have recovered the jewellery, worth Rs three crore and have arrested the driver’s co-conspirators.

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