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Cotton trader among four held hostage at gunpoint by robbers

Four armed robbers allegedly held an elderly cotton trader, his relative and two others hostage at gunpoint inside his bungalow here for three hours, before decamping with cash and valuables worth Rs 5.7 lakh, police said on Friday.

The incident took place on Wednesday morning at the trader’s bungalow located on Apte Road in upmarket Deccan area of the city, police added.

According to police, the robbers held cotton trader Hanskumar Khimji (79), his sister-in-law Hemaji Chheda (63), his domestic aide and caretaker of the bungalow were held hostage.

The robbers barged into the bungalow around 9.30 am on Wednesday and threatened them to hand over cash and valuables by brandishing a gun and sharp weapons, they said.

“When Khimji told them that he did not have enough cash, one of the intruders left for Mumbai with Khimji’s driver to collect Rs 1 crore from the trader’s office,” senior police inspector Bhaskar Jadhav of Deccan Gymkhana police station said.

The remaining three robbers then tied the domestic help and caretaker of the bungalow with a rope.

“They also put Khimji and his sister-in-law into a room on the upper floor of the bungalow with one of the accused keeping a watch on them inside the room,” he said.

It is an old bungalow and Khimjis occasionally come there as they want to sell off the property, he added.

“Around 1.30 pm, one of the robbers, who was keeping a watch on Khimji and Chheda, went out of the room to talk to his accomplice. Seizing the opportunity, Chheda immediately locked the door from inside and raised an alarm and shouted for help from the window,” Jadhav said.

As Chheda started shouting for help, the robbers developed cold feet and fled the house after taking away cash and valuables worth Rs 5.70 lakh, the officer said.

“The three robbers then might have called their fourth accomplice and asked him to run away. The fourth robber, who along with the driver, was about to reach to Kurla, then got down from the car and escaped,” Jadhav said.

“A case has been registered and multiple teams have been formed to trace the robbers. We are also checking the CCTV cameras installed on Apte road,” he said.

The robbers might have conducted a recce of the house before executing their plan, Jadhav said adding that further investigation into the case is on.

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