In Diamond Merchant Murder Case, Ex-BJP Member Arrested, Model Detained

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Rajeshwar Udani, 57, had been reported missing by his family on November 28.

Mumbai:

A politician was arrested and a prominent model-cum-television actress was interrogated and detained by Mumbai Police following the mysterious murder of a diamond merchat, Rajeshwar Udani, officials said on Saturday.

The politician, Sachin Pawar, was said to be closely acquainted with the diamond merchant. He was earlier with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Earlier, actress Debolina Bhattacharya was grilled for several hours by police in Ghatkopar three days after the missing Rajeshwar Udani's body was recovered in the forests of adjoining Raigad district.

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However, officials remain tight-lipped over her role in the case but hinted that some more women from the entertainment industry may be summoned for questioning.

Rajeshwar Udani, 57, had been reported missing by his family from his office on November 28. The police had registered a missing case and launched a search for him. His mobile was tracked in Rabale, Navi Mumbai, before it lost signal.

After nearly a week, on December 4, since he remained untraced and the family suspected something amiss, the police registered a kidnapping case.

His driver told the police that Rajeshwar Udani asked him to be dropped near the Pant Nagar market where another vehicle came and he got into it.

His highly decomposed body, without any apparent injuries, was found late on December 5 and bereft of any identity paper. He was identified by his son from the clothes and shoes he was wearing.

Investigators suspect Rajeshwar Udani's kidnappers may have killed him at some other location before dumping the body in the Panvel forests.

Police investigations and call data records have revealed that Udani was a regular at some bars and in touch with several women, including from the glamour and entertainment industry, through Sachin Pawar, a former aide to a Maharashtra Minister, Prakash Mehta.

Admitting that Pawar was with him from 2004 to 2009, Mehta on Friday evening said since then he had severed all links with him and claimed that he had been sacked from the BJP after he contested a BMC election as an independent.

Police have questioned two dozen persons and are on the lookout for the vehicle which picked up the victim on the night he went missing.

Dancer-model Bhattacharya, 28, is also an award-winning actress seen in several TV serials notably as Gopi Bahu in the popular "Saath Nibhana Sathiya" besides reality shows.

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