The court on Friday recorded statement of a Canadabased NRI through video-conferencing in a kidnapping case that took place three years ago. NRI Navneet Singh Chatha was kidnapped for a Rs 1 crore ransom in April 2012 and was rescued within a few hours.
While recording his statement on Friday though video conferencing, the NRI identified four out of six persons arrested by the UT police in the case - Pradeep Malik, Sanjeev Kumar alias Soni, Anil Kumar and Ajit Singh. The victim failed to identify accused Nitin and Sukhdev.
The Friday’s development has given a fresh impetus to the trial, which had come to a standstill in the absence of Navneet, after he had expressed his inability to travel to India due to alleged threat to his life.
The case would now come up for hearing on July 18 and August 1, when Chatha would be cross-examined.
IN RANSOM CALL, VICTIM HAD LEFT HINTS FOR BROTHER
Recounting the sequence of events, Chatha said, “I usually refer to my brother as Ginnu or Garry during normal conversations, but that day I called him by his complete name - Gurneet Singh Chatha just to drop a hint that something is wrong.”
“This was only to force him to think. I could not have told him that I was kidnapped as the kidnappers had forced me to call him on gunpoint and demanded Rs 1 crore.
I told my brother that an amount was for the land deal that made him suspicious and he called for help,” said Chatha.
“The accused had cross-fired at the police team and when I tried to escape, they tried to shoot me, but their pistol got jammed and I was rescued alive,” he added while identifying four accused by the colour of their shirts.
Chatha was kidnapped on April 10, 2012, and a UT crime branch team rescued him following an extensive operation in a Kurukshetra village.
The NRI’s brother, who is also a Canadian resident, had received the ransom call. The police laid a trap and arrested the accused.
The UT police had arrested six persons - Pradeep Malik, Nitin, Sanjeev Kumar alias Soni, Sukhdev, Anil Kumar and Ajit Singh - on charges of kidnapping, robbery, wrongful confinement, receiving stolen property and forgery.
Soni owned the farmhouse where the victim was confined.
All the accused are behind bars ever since.
The police had recovered Rs 12.5 lakh, 300 Canadian dollars, victim’s Honda Accord car, a Swift Dzire car robbed from a person in Panchkula and two mobile phones.
The police had said the NRI was robbed of his purse and belongings at gunpoint. The police added Sections of robbery, besides attempt to murder against the accused.