The simple fact that 27-year-old Atul, a car showroom executive, has a four-year-old daughter saved his life. Atul had been held hostage at gunpoint, robbed of his vehicle and cash by three unknown assailants in west Delhi's Nangloi area on Thursday evening.
The incident happened soon after Atul, a resident of Najafgarh, dropped one of his colleagus at the Rajdhani Enclave Metro station. He was about to head to his residence on Rohtak Road when the trio waylaid him, said a senior Delhi Police officer investigating the case.
Atul was hunting for his mobile phone, which he had dropped on the floor of his car, when one of the assailants came and put a gun to his neck.
As a terrified Atul sat perfectly still, the gunman's two associates got into the car and drove off with him.
They tied him up with duct tape and kept talking to him as they drove towards Bahadurgarh, said a senior police officer.
"The assailants, who seemed to be in their mid-20s, asked him about his family and if he had any children," the officer said.
A floor in-charge at the Deep Hyundai showroom on GT-Karnal road, Atul, terrified and sure that he would be shot, put up a brave front and told his assailants to shoot him since he wasn't interested in small talk.
Atul statement to the police says that the assailants almost scoffed at his suggestion and told him that they wouldn't kill him, if only for the sake of his daughter.
Nearly 30 minutes after he was abducted, a bound Atul was dumped on the edge of a vast field.
Atul somehow managed to free himself from the duct tape, reach the main road and called the police around 8.45pm after borrowing a phone from a passerby.
"We have registered a case of robbery at the Nangloi police station and launched a manhunt. Investigations are underway," said V Renganathan, additional commissioner of police (west).