2 neighbours among four held for Chandigarh boy’s kidnapping

Knew victim’s sister was to get married, family would have cash

2 neighbours among four held for Chandigarh boy’s kidnapping

The four suspects in custody at the Mani Majra police station in Chandigarh on Thursday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: NITIN MITTAL

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17

The UT police have arrested four persons for kidnapping a 15-year-old boy and demanding a ransom of Rs50 lakh from his family. Two of the suspects, brothers, have turned out to be the victim’s family friends, who knew that the family was planning to get the victim’s sister married and it would have cash to pay the ransom.

Remanded in 4-day police custody

Deteriorating financial condition during the lockdown forced the suspects to commit the crime. The police said Pankaj, who had suffered losses in some online schemes, was the mastermind. The suspects were produced in a court, which remanded them in four-day police custody.

UT SSP Kuldeep Singh Chahal said the suspects had been identified as Vishal Gupta and Pankaj Gupta, brothers, who were residing in the neighbourhood of the victim in Kishangarh, Rajat (21) and Mukesh Kumar (23), a resident of Ram Darbar. Vishal, Pankaj and Mukesh worked as recovery agents with RBL Bank.

The fifth suspect, Ajay Sharma, a resident of Baltana, was at large. The white Breeza car, owned by Ajay’s brother, that was used in the crime is yet to be recovered.

The police said Vishal and Pankaj, being the victim’s neighbours, knew that the marriage of the victim’s sister was scheduled for October and thought the family would have cash and jewellery.

The duo shared the information with the other suspects, who then hatched a conspiracy to kidnap the boy.

On the day of the incident, three suspects reached Kishangarh and as soon the victim went for cycling, they kidnapped him and took him towards Panchkula and Baltana. Inspector Neeraj Sarna, SHO of the Mani Majra police station, said the other two suspects, Pankaj and Vishal, accompanied the victim’s father to the police station. “When the kidnappers were calling the victim’s father, they were present there to show sympathy and get information about the police action,” the SHO added.

Pankaj even spoke to the kidnappers on behalf of the victim’s father and assured them that money was being arranged. The police said Pankaj informed the kidnappers about the police tracking their movement following which they decided to release the boy without taking a ransom.

The police said the CCTV footage of the route taken by the kidnappers was scrutinised, which led them to a location in Baltana. There, the police found the footage of a white Breeza. However, on verifying the number of the car, it turned out to be fake. The police further scruitnised the cameras and found the footage of the same vehicle bearing another number plate, which was a genuine number that led them to Ajay’s house in Batlana.

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