They wanted easy money and television showed them how to get it. Accordingly, three teenagers, students of a private school, allegedly abducted and strangled their schoolmate and picked up a ransom of Rs 15,000 from his father.
Shubham Mahadev Shirke, 15—a student of Priyadarshani English Medium school in Pune’s satellite town Pimpri-Chinchwad—had just finished writing his Class X board exams.
Two of his alleged assailants took the exam with him. The third, 19-year-old Amit Nair, sat for his Class XII board exams from the same school. All three have been arrested.
On Saturday afternoon, the three had called out Shubham on the pretext of playing cricket, the police said. Taking him to a nearby hill at Dighi, they strangled him, called his father Mahadev Shirke, and demanded a ransom of R50,000.
Shirke, an employee of a private firm in Bhosari, said he could pay only R15,000.
The “kidnappers” agreed and around 10:30 pm, two masked men on a motorcycle came and collected the money from outside Shirke’s home.
Shirke had been warned against approaching the police, but when his son failed to return, he filed a complaint.
“He provided us the registration number of the bike and the cellphone numbers. Within hours, we arrested the three,” said inspector and investigating officer Motichand Rathod. “Later on Sunday, the boys led us to Shubham’s body.”
According to the police, the youths had initially planned to abduct the son of a jeweller. “But it did not work out,” said deputy commissioner of police Sanjay Jadhav.
Nair is the only son of a retired restaurant manager who has been bedridden for the past three years.
One of the minors is the son of a former corporator and a builder based in Pimpri-Chinchwad, another that of a daily wage labourer.
The police have sent the minors to a juvenile home. Nair has been remanded in police custody. They have been booked for kidnapping, extortion and murder.
Idea came from TV soaps
Crime-based television soaps gave the assailants of Shubham Mahadev Shirke a ready plan. But they tripped up on key points – by using their own cellphones and motorbike.
That was how the police had zeroed in on them within hours.
When Nair and one of the minors had gone to collect the ransom from Shubham’s father Mahadev Shirke, they had their faces covered.
“But Nair had used his own motorbike while making the trip. Also, during their conversation with Shubham’s father, they used their own cellphones,” said a senior police officer.
The young men had plans for the money.
“All three confessed that they wanted to have fun, but easy money could only come from crime,” said inspector Motichand Rathod.
Abduction appeared the way out.
“Among the television serials they regularly watched were CID and Crime Patrol.”