A 40-kilometre stretch on the National Highway-2 in Bihar has become notorious for disappearance of loaded trucks and high-profile persons, according to the police officials, who say a special surveillance plan is being readied for the "hijack zone".
The stretch, which is called the 'Bermuda Triangle’ of Bihar for having a high number missing and kidnapping cases, runs from Dobhi town to Barachatti block in Gaya district. Police sources said that for every reported kidnapping or disappearance from this stretch, “at least three others go unreported.”
About 50 trucks with drivers and cleaners were reported missing from the zone during the past five years. Besides the incident of missing trucks, a number of high-profile kidnappings for ransom, have also been reported from the area, police officials said. The most recent one being that of Dr Pankaj Kumar Gupta and his wife who went missing from the stretch on May 1 when they were going to Gaya from Giridih in Jharkhand by their black Audi Q3.
Five days later, they returned to their home in Gaya almost as mysteriously as they had gone missing and confirmed to the police that they had been kidnapped. However, many versions are doing the rounds about how, where and when they were released by their kidnappers.
Earlier, on January 18, 2012, industrialist Anil Agarwal of Hazaribagh (Jharkhand) was abducted along with the driver of his SUV while they were heading for Asansol (West Bengal) from Varanasi.
Agarwal was reportedly released near Rajauli valley along the Koderma-Nawada border on February 21. Police sources claimed that his family paid R5 crore to the kidnappers for his release. However, neither the Bihar nor the Jharkhand police lodged a case in this connection. Finally, the Agarwal family managed to get the case of kidnapping registered in Varanasi.
On January 22, Rohtas-based mineral contractor Ravi Ranjan Singh, who is a close relative of Siwan district magistrate Sanjay Kumar, was reported missing with his new Toyota Fortuner SUV along with his driver from a spot near Barachatti. Later, his kidnappers released him at Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh after they were allegedly paid R40 lakh cash in ransom.
These three had been the established cases of kidnapping for ransom, a police officer said, adding a number of trucks, vehicles and containers had also been reported missing from the stretch over the period. Later some of them were recovered but without the goods they carried. At least 15 to 20 bodies of the ‘missing’ drivers and cleaners had been found from the Rajauli valley in Nawada district, about 50 km north east of Barachatti, from time to time, he said.
The Bihar police are now putting in place a surveillance plan in the missing zone, which includes setting up multiple police check-posts between Dobhi and Barachatti on NH-2, intense route patrolling and surveillance by the cops in civvies. Additional forces and vehicles were being sent to Gaya under the plan, an officer said.
Gaya superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj said the entire police setup in the area was being overhauled. “We are now readying to tame Bihar’s own Bermuda triangle,” said another officer, adding, “We are also planning surprise checks on the police personnel posted on the GT road.”
Read: Leading doctor, wife abducted from GT Road in Bihar