Mumbai: Two junior film artistes have been arrested here for allegedly kidnapping and murdering a small-time Bollywood actress in Uttar Pradesh for ransom, police said on Tuesday.

A crime branch team has left for Allahabad to retrieve the headless body of Nepalese national Minakshi Thapa (26) who had been missing since last month, they said.

Police on Saturday apprehended Amitkumar Jaiswal (36) and Preeti Surin (26) from suburban Bandra in connection with the brutal murder.

Police said the accused duo, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, had befriended the victim on the sets of Bollywood film 'Heroine' in which she landed a small role.

They were under the impression that the victim belonged to a rich family and hatched a conspiracy to kidnap her and demand a ransom of Rs 15 lakh from her family members, they said.

Accordingly, the duo lured the starlet, who had moved to Mumbai from Dehradun two months back, to accompany them to Uttar Pradesh on March 12 under the pretext of an acting assignment.

Police said the duo decided to kill the actress when they realised that her family members could not pay the ransom.

They first strangulated Thapa to death and then chopped off her head and dumped her body, apparently to hide her identity, during their transit in a bus between Allahabad and Lucknow.

On future course of investigations, a senior official said that the crime branch team would conduct searches at the residence of Jaiswal in Uttar Pradesh and will also inquire with various police stations along Allahabad and Lucknow to trace the missing head of the victim.

"Thapa gave them the impression that she was from an affluent family and wanted to dabble in films as a hobby," said a police official.

After taking Thapa to Allahabad under the pretext of a film shoot, the duo called up her family members asking for money.

Her family transferred only Rs 60,000 into the accused's account, who became furious for not getting rest of the amount and killed her, police said.

The duo were remanded in police custody till April 23 by a local court, police said, adding that further investigations are on.

(Agencies)