The man accused of abducting an executive of e-commerce major Snapdeal had taken her hostage fearing that she would turn down his offer for marriage, a police officer investigating the case said.
Police quoted 30-year-old Devendra Kumar, the alleged kingpin in the abduction of Dipti Sarna, as confessing that he plotted the kidnapping after he failed to woo another Delhi woman, who had rebuffed his marriage offer in 2014.
Kumar had hatched an elaborate plan involving few other accomplices to abduct the 24-year-old Snapdeal employee on February 11 from Ghaziabad while she was returning home from work.
Kumar has 30 criminal cases of robbery, murder and attempt to murder against his name and was inspired by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s psychopath character in the 1993 film Darr. He also carries a reward of Rs 3 lakh in Haryana and likes books authored by Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
After he escaped from the police in Kurukshetra in June, 2014, Kumar went into hiding in Delhi’s Mongolpuri. Sources said he met a young woman who lived in one of the houses in the building there and started stalking her. He used to tail her from her house to a call centre at Madhuban Chowk in Rohini.
“He stalked the woman and also stayed outside her office location. He came to know that the woman was planning to buy a smartphone. One day, he offered her a lift on his bike and then proposed her. He offered her an expensive smartphone and also said he will get her family settled as he had Rs 5 lakh with him that time,” SP Yadav, jail superintendent at Dasna where Kumar is presently lodged in connection with Sarna’s abduction case, said.
Sources in the team handling the case said Kumar suffered a setback when the woman, who came from a financially weak family, firmly denied his proposal and asked him not to contact her again. The episode upset him as he had plans to settle down after marrying the girl as he was tired of living a life on the run.
A couple of months later after the Delhi woman spurned him, Kumar saw Sarna at the Rajiv Chowk Metro station along with her friend. Besotted by Sarna, Kumar continued following her till Vaishali for the next two days to confirm her travel schedule.
Soon he started following her routinely and sometimes even went after her till her Kavi Nagar home. As Sarna always travelled in the women’s coach, Kumar stood watching her from the ramp which connected the two coaches.
With a failed attempt to lure a woman in Delhi, he decided not to approach Sarna right away and purchased two auto-rickshaws for her abduction and also changed houses from Delhi to Khoda in Ghaziabad.
Police said that he stalked Sarna nearly 150 times before he, along with several accomplices, abducted her in one of his auto-rickshaws on the night of February 10 from Ghaziabad. After abducting her, Kumar took her to his village Kami, about 70-80 kilometre away in Haryana’s Sonepat.
In his statement to the police Kumar said, while they were hiding in a thick sugarcane field at Kheda Hatana near the banks of river Yamuna (near the UP-Haryana border), they encountered a jackal and had a tough time driving the animal away.
After spending the entire day of February 11 in the sugarcane fields, they crossed the Yamuna on foot which had knee-deep water, Kumar brought Sarna to Kami on the night of February 11 on a motorcycle. Sarna was kept hostage inside the house of one of his friends.
Kumar came to know about the manhunt lodged by the police at the directions of UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav here.
During the entire abduction, Kumar coerced her to believe that her friend would marry a non-Hindu woman and had planned to kill her, portraying himself as her saviour.
Sources said as the news about the incident spread thick and fast and Kumar ran out of his mobile phone balance which disconnected him from other accomplices who were busy making arrangements for him to travel further.
Following this, Kumar dropped Sarna to a nearby Sandal Kalan railway station and made her board the first train at around 6am on February 12 and handed her Rs 100.
Sarna called her family from a passenger’s mobile phone and was picked up from New Delhi railway station. Kumar and four other accused were arrested on February 15 and sent to judicial custody at Dasna jail. After Kumar was arrested by Ghaziabad Police, he told them he was planning to take away Sarna to Kathmandu in a bid to marry her.
Officials at Dasna jail say he is undeterred by the entire episode that traumatised his victim and keeps asking whether she would again join her office, whether she would marry or her family may relocate elsewhere.
“He has narrated the entire episode to other inmates who were curious about the case that had hit the headlines recently. We will be seeking medical opinion from our hospital doctors for a psychological counseling of the accused,” Yadav said.