The Ghaziabad police on Sunday recovered the body of a 12-year-old boy who was allegedly abducted by his neighbour from outside his house in DLF Ankur Vihar in Loni on the evening of February 21 and killed in the night.
The accused said that he was offered money by the boy’s father for the kidnapping, who wanted to get money from the boy’s grandfather.
The victim, Pratham, and his eight-year-old sister were sent out by their father, Sanjay Patel, to fetch golgappas from the local market on the evening of February 21. On returning, the girl went inside the house while Pratham was lured by their neighbour Bablu Tripathi.
“The victim’s grandfather, Devidas Patel, retired as a loco driver from railways on January 31 and received nearly Rs10-12 lakh in retirement benefits. He was to receive more money under the retirement plan. After Pratham went missing, the grandfather lodged a complaint and police teams went out on search,” Srikant Prajapati, circle officer (CO - Loni), said.
Bablu Tripathi, who runs a local business of data cards and mobile, took the child to nearby Soniya Vihar near the Delhi-Ghaziabad border on the same night and allegedly murdered him before dumping his body in a pit. The boy studied in class 6 in a Loni school. His body was recovered on Tripathi’s instance on Sunday morning.
The police said that the child was strangled, his throat slashed with a glass object and his head battered with a heavy piece of stone.
“Our teams traced their neighbour Bablu through electronic surveillance and he turned out to be the man behind the kidnapping. He has been arrested. He claims that the child’s father Sanjay had offered him the job of kidnapping the child in order to obtain his own father’s (child’s grandfather) benefits. His claims are yet to be corroborated but we have called the child’s father for detailed questioning. The father will not be arrested till we find evidence against him,” the CO said.
However, the child’s grandfather denied allegations of perpetration of kidnapping levied on his son, Sanjay. He said that he received repeated calls from the kidnapper, who never turned up.
“During initial calls, he made me speak once to my grandson who told me to save him. The kidnapper asked for Rs10 lakh. I told him that I was on a train from Varanasi to Kanpur, from where I had to come to Aligrah and it would take a to arrange money. Then he told me to arrange Rs5 lakh,” Devidas, Pratham’s grandfather, said.
“In another call, he told me to reach Khajuri but then abandoned the plan and told me to come to Bhajanpura instead. When I went there on foot, he called me to a sweet shop and then to a park 100 metres away. From there, he told to come near a milk booth but he still did not reveal himself. On February 24, he called me again and asked to arrange money, failing which he threatened to send the boy’s body in a bag. I arranged money from some of my relatives but he never called again. Then I got a call from the police,” he said.
Sources said that Sanjay is an alcoholic and was deserted by his wife three years ago due to his alcohol addiction. She also left Pratham and their daughter behind and presently stays at Dwarka in Delhi. Sanjay is also the only son of Devidas Patel.