The city crime branch officials arrested a gang of kidnappers, including a woman, a fleet cab driver and two BCom students, within three days of abducting a four-year-old boy from Malwani and demanding Rs5 lakh ransom. The minor has been rescued, said the police.
According to the police, the accused identified as Santosh Vishwakarma, Zahir Shaikh, Rajesh Chauhan, Sanjay Chauhan, Deepa Gupta and Abhishek Jha, had hatched and executed the plan to kidnap the boy after they got to know that he belonged to a well-to-do family. While most of the accused have been arrested, Vishwakarma, the main accused in the case and another accused identified only as Sonu, are on the run, said the police.
A team of officers, including Chimaji Adhav, Manohar Harpude and A Sonavane, apprehended the accused. During interrogation, the officials learnt that Sonu wanted the money to invest in his mobile shop, while the others wanted it for Diwali preparations.
Officials of the crime branch’s Unit XI said Sonu worked in a salon located adjacent to the shop run by the boy’s father. He would keep a watch on the child, who often visited his father’s shop, and eventually gathered information about the boy’s family’s financial status. The accused then kept a close watch on the boy’s family and their movements, said the investigators, adding that they also carried out a dry run 12 days ahead of the planned kidnapping.
“On Tuesday night, they executed the plan to kidnap the boy. Shaikh, who works for a fleet cab company, had arranged for the vehicle, an Indica cab, which was registered with the company, but was off duty on Tuesday night. The accused forced the boy into the vehicle near Marve Cross Road when he was returning from tuition classes,” said Atulchandra Kulkarni, joint commissioner of police(crime).
They then held the boy hostage at Sanjay and Deepa’s Virar residence from where they began making the ransom calls to the boy’s father. Sonu had procured the boy’s father’s contact number from his shop’s board, said the police. Deepa told the police she was in the dark about the child being kidnapped as Sanjay had told her that the boy was his distant relative.
A case was then registered at the Malwani police station following which the officials swung into action and tracked the accused through technical surveillance.
Cases of kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and acts of common intention have been registered against the accused, who have been remanded in police custody till November 6.
The crime branch will inform the fleet cab company to inform them about their driver’s arrest in a kidnapping case.