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Maha businesman killed, body burnt; 3 held

A businessman was allegedly kidnapped and killed by some persons who later burnt the body at a forest in Palghar district of Maharashtra to hide the crime, police said on Tuesday.

Three persons were arrested and a woman was detained in this connection, police spokesperson Hemant Katkar said.

The police suspect the killing to be a fallout of professional rivalry, he said.

Arif Shaikh, a resident of Mira Road in the neighbouring Thane district, was a supplier of machinery spare parts and owned a factory in Palghar.

Last Thursday, when he was going to his factory in an auto-rickshaw, some unidentified persons allegedly kidnapped him and strangled him to death, Katkar said.

The accused later took the body to a forest in Dahanu area here and burnt it by pouring petrol over it, he said.

The police on Monday arrested businessman Prashant Sankhe, his cousin Samdev Sankhe and his employee Prashant Mahajan for their alleged involvement in the crime.

Katkar said they suspect that Prashant Sankhe got Shaikh killed over some business rivalry.

The Sankhes were arrested from Vapi in Gujarat while Mahajan was nabbed from Jalgaon in Maharashtra, he said.

A woman working at a private firm here was also detained over suspicion as Shaikh had complained to her employer sometime back that she was misappropriating the company's funds, the official said.

The victim's remains were yet to be traced, he said.

The accused were booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder), 363 (kidnapping) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), he added.