The Mumbai police on Wednesday arrested four men who kidnapped the 12-year-old son of a Bandra-based decorator on Monday.
Eric was abducted from outside St Andrews School in Bandra (West) soon after his father Pravin Fernandes dropped him off in the morning. The boy was convinced by the four men to get into an Indica car and was taken to Bhandup.
The abductors rang Fernandes at 8.45am to inform him that they had abducted his son and disconnected the call. They called the interior designer again at 11am and asked him to arrange for Rs5 crore if he did not want them to harm his son. The ransom was brought down to Rs5 lakh after much bargaining.
Fernandes approached the police later on Monday, who asked him to cooperate with the abductors.
On Tuesday, the accused called Fernandes and asked him to board an outstation train, Sahyadri Express, and throw off the bag containing the money near Shelu railway station on the Karjat route. After the bag was collected, and on ensuring there was money in it, the kidnappers sent Eric home a few hours later.
“Fernandes threw off the bag just before Shelu station arrived and returned to the city. Eric was sent home a few hours later. This is when our investigation began. Though we were following Fernandes closely, we did not intervene as we did not want the child to be harmed,” said Pratap Dighavkar, deputy commissioner of police (zone nine).
The police then laid a trap and in a joint operation by the local police, the Mumbai police crime branch and the west region special squad.
The four men were traced to Bhandup with the help of their mobile phones, from where they were arrested. They have been identified as Niranjan Mishra, 35, Vedprakash Yadav, 32, Abdul Sattar, 37, and Vinod Pandey, 32. “The men have been arrested for kidnapping and extortion and have been remanded in police custody till February 2,” said Dighavkar.
The police have recovered the car and 12 mobile phones used in the kidnapping. The ransom is yet to be recovered, the police said.