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Jewellery scion fond of fast cars and high life | India News

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MUMBAI: Jaws dropped in Zaveri Bazaar when the business community found that the scion of the reputed, age-old firm H Kishore Kumar Jewellers had been taken in for questioning by Ahmedabad police for launching a terror threat on an aircraft. Community groups on WhatsApp were abuzz with details of the incident, but members claimed ignorance before the media.

The accused, Birju Kishore Salla (37), belongs to the Parajiya Soni community of goldsmiths and hails from Gujarat’s Amreli district. His father, Kishorebhai, is the owner of the family firm, which has its headquarters at Zaveri Bazaar.

The Sallas own both flats on the 15th floor of the hard-tomiss Shreepati Arcade skyscraper near Nana Chowk.

Birju Salla also runs property and bullion businesses, and oddly, sells khakhras (a Gujarati snack) as well, said Ahmedabad crime branch officials. His property business is based in Thane (the company is registered with the ministry of corporate affairs). Investigation officials said Salla prepared the hijack threat letter at his office in Mumbai.

The man is clearly fond of the high life and frequently mingles with celebrities. The internet is filled with pictures of him alongside Hindi film stars and cricketers. There is also a series of photos which caption him as a trustee of the Bright Start Fellowship International School, which is near August Kranti Maidan.

But Salla does not appear to be active on social media.

Staff at Shreepati Arcade say the bon vivant is escorted by a private bodyguard at times. He is in the good books of police officers as well, who reportedly visit him in mufti, they say.

On the hijack hoax, R R Chaturvedi, the building’s owner and Salla’s neighbor, said, “There must be some misunderstanding. Kishorebhai’s family has been living here for 15 years. It was I who sold them the apartments on the 15th floor.

Their firm is an established name in the jewellery business. Birju has never courted controversy here. Yes, he is young, he drives a Mercedes, he is good-looking and wealthy. But he has a wife and two children. How can he compromise their safety and honour?”

Salla reportedly went to London on business for a few years before returning to Mumbai. A neighbour who spoke to the family late on Monday evening said, “(Salla’s father) is agitated and does not wish to speak to the press. The family feels the airline is trying to frame Birju because he has had a run-in with it in the past.”

Kumar Jain, who heads the Mumbai Jewellers Association, said, “This is a surprise to me. The family is very reputed; they own a large corner showroom at the entrance of Zaveri Bazaar.”

Ashok Minawala, who is a prominent member of the Parajiya Soni community, said he shared an old relationship with Kishorebhai, but had eventually lost touch. The community has an active WhatsApp group which exchanges information about the trade and the fraternity.

(With inputs from Vijay V Singh)

Updated: October 31, 2017 — 10:42 am

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