The high-profile abduction of a leading paediatrician and his wife ended on a happy note, with the couple reaching their south-central hometown of Gaya on Wednesday. The incident had raised a storm in Bihar, with doctors’ organisations threatening to launch a strike and the opposition BJP citing it as evidence of the plunging law-and-order situation in the state.
Dr Pankaj Kumar Gupta, also a member of the central Bihar chamber of commerce, and his wife Shubhra were returning from a wedding ceremony at Giridih, Jharkhand, in an Audi car when they were kidnapped near Barachatti last Friday.
Confirming their return, Bihar director general of police PK Thakur said the couple was released under intense police pressure.
“They have reached home safely. The gang that carried out the kidnapping has also been identified,” he added.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar, who closely monitored the probe, had told the DGP to ensure the couple’s safe return. Earlier, he had made a promise in this regard to the doctor’s family.
Though there was no official word on the circumstances surrounding their release, sources said they were freed somewhere near Kanpur -- after which they returned to Gaya on their own by Wednesday morning. The police were informed later in the afternoon.
A senior police officer said that seven persons have been arrested in connection with the abduction, but refused to elaborate. Newly appointed Gaya SSP Manu Maharaj and Magadh range DIG PK Srivastava were among the people who spoke to Dr Gupta at his in-laws’ house. Sources said they looked exhausted, and were still in a state of shock.
Neeraj Gupta, the doctor’s brother, said the family was celebrating the safe return of the couple.
“This is all we wanted,” he said, adding that they weren’t bothered by the loss of the car.