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Stocks shock drives MBAs into crime

A loss of about Rs 80 lakh in stock market and in real estate deals led two MBA students to kidnap a teenaged boy for ransom in south Delhi, reports HT Correspondent.

delhi Updated: Nov 25, 2008 00:28 IST
HT Correspondent

The global financial meltdown is not only hurting people in the corporate world, it is also turning some investors into criminals.

Stock-market losses drove two desperate MBA students to kidnap a 15-year-old Class IX student from Saket in south Delhi last Thursday, say the Delhi Police.

Piyush Jain (24) is an MBA correspondence student with IMT, Ghaziabad and Rohit Chopra is doing his MBA from the Indira Gandhi National Open University.

The police said Jain, Chopra and four others planned and orchestrated the kidnapping of Arjun Verma, a student of Gyan Bharti School. The main accused in the case is Bharat Jhamb (21), a cousin of Arjun.

Jain, Chopra and Jhamb pooled in Rs 1 lakh to buy cellphones, SIM cards, rent a godown and pay a man whose help they took for the crime. They bought used cellphones and used fake identification to buy SIM cards.

Jain and Chopra told the police that the loss of Rs 80 lakh in the stock market drove them to crime. Chopra had also lost money in his property-dealing business.

Four men in a car had stopped Arjun and his classmate Ankit around 7.45 am on November 20. The teenagers were on their way to school. “The men asked Arjun the way to his house,” said deputy commissioner of police HGS Dhaliwal. “To reinforce his trust in them, they mentioned his elder sister’s name and said they were going to meet her. So the boy willingly got into the car with them.”

When Arjun did not reach school, Ankit informed his teachers. “I got to know about the kidnapping from the school,” said Kulwant Verma, Arjun’s mother.

The police said the family received the first ransom call at 10.30 am on November 20. They set up teams to investigate the kidnapping after a relative of the Vermas informed them.

“Through the day, the family received about 20 calls,” said a police officer. “The kidnappers gave them a 10-day deadline to deliver Rs 80 lakh.” He said the kidnappers were adamant on the Rs 80 lakh figure and said they would not accept anything less.

The kidnappers took Arjun to Sukhroli in Gurgaon’s Sector 17. The boy was kept bound and gagged in a rented godown.

Jhamb, being close to the family, was in touch with the Vermas and knew about the police’s movements. He kept the other kidnappers posted.

“When he knew we were hot on his heels, he told his accomplices to leave Arjun in the Okhla area around 3 am on the intervening night of November 20 and 21,” said Dhaliwal.

A passerby, who found Arjun bound and gagged, took the teenager to his house in Saket.

The police later tracked down Dalip Singh Rathore (27), one of the six kidnappers. Rathore told the police about the other five men who were involved.

Jain, Chopra and Jhamb had hired Rathore, a known criminal and extortionist, for the kidnapping. He was paid Rs 40,000 in advance.

Dhaliwal said they had all met at a barber shop owned by one Parveen Kashyap (27) in Gurgaon and planned the kidnapping. The sixth accomplice was one Ramesh Singh, 30, a resident of Aya Nagar.

The police said Jhamb held a grudge against the Vermas over a property-related matter.