Police arrested four men on Thursday for the abduction of a 14-year-old in Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh district and said the main accused wanted to use the ransom money to pursue higher studies in the United States.
The accused sent a text message to one of the victim’s family members, asking for a ransom of Rs1 crore, police said. Except the main accused Arun — an undergraduate student at Bhopal School of Social Sciences — the three accused are school dropouts.
The abducted child was identified as Mohit Kumar Meena, a student of Class 8 who belongs to an affluent family in Barrai village.
He was picked up on Monday evening by a bike-borne youth. According to police, the four accused identified as Arun Meena, 20, Malkhan Meena, 20, Rahul Lodhi, 19 and Raja Sallam, 20, were planning the abduction since last December. “The plan was chalked out by Arun who had plans to fund his foreign studies with the ransom amount while the other three wanted to buy themselves a leisurely life,” said Yogesh Choudhary, inspector general.
The accused studied various cases of abduction and watched crime-based television shows to ensure they are not caught by police, sources said.
“The accused recced the roads and spots to see where the police had their checkpoints and the locations of the CCTV cameras to avoid those after kidnapping the child,” Choudhary said.
He said one of the accused, Raja, was asked to recce as he was from the same village and wouldn’t arouse suspicion. For the abduction, the accused stole a bike from near a mall and changed its number plate to avoid getting caught, sources said.
“The accused played very smart as they bought SIM cards with the help of one of their friends and never put them in their own mobile phones. To check the SIM cards, they put them in strangers’ mobile phones by saying they wanted to make an urgent call,” said Chowdhury.
“Using the same trick, they sent a ransom SMS to the family members of the child, demanding an amount of Rs 1 crore.”
However Mohit’s uncle Manmohan Meena denied having received any such SMS.
After abducting the child, Rahul drove to a bypass road to Kurawar, where he was joined by Malkhan and Raja. Main accused Arun never appeared before Mohit, as he was known to the boy.
“The police received inputs in Barrai village that Arun and Raja were behaving suspiciously since the incident. As police got solid inputs about Arun, on Wednesday, he was rounded up and grilled,” Chowdhury said.
I was not harmed during captivity, says the boy
Mohit Kumar Meena, the 14-year-old who was kidnapped from near his house in Barrai village of Bhopal on Monday, said he was not harmed and that he was fed only samosas during the captivity.
“The kidnappers used to feed me only samosas and tell me that I would not be harmed by them. They told me they would release me after my father pays them Rs 20,000,” Mohit told Hindustan Times. He said the kidnappers never used their names while talking to each other.
“They were calling themselves with code names such as Hard and TC and used to talk to someone on mobile phones, whom they called boss,” said Mohit.
The boy said the kidnappers never tortured him physically.
“The kidnappers once showed me a knife near the bypass road while they were taking me to the house where they kept me. The man who took me on his bike on the pretext of taking me to my father’s farm was joined by two others near the bypass,” said Mohit.
“On Thursday morning I was sleeping when the police barged in the house to rescue me and arrest the kidnappers,” Mohit said.