Nearly a month after 15-year-old Shruti Sachdeva was abducted at gunpoint from her house in Faridkot, the Punjab Police, on Sunday, rescued the girl and arrested the key accused, Nishan Singh, from Baga beach in Goa.
“A police team headed by two DSPs was sent to Goa on October 17. They found Nishan, who was staying there as Gurpreet Singh, along with the girl at Baga beach,” state DGP Sumedh Singh Saini told mediapersons here.
Nishan will be produced in a Goa court before being brought to Punjab on transit remand.
“Shruti will be sent for medical examination to confirm whether she had been sexually abused before being handed over to her parents in New Delhi. If so, we will book Nishan for rape since the girl is a minor,” the DGP said.
With Nishan’s arrest, 14 of the 17 accused in the abduction case have been arrested. Three accused, including Nishan’s mother Navjot Kaur, Faridkot councillor Dimpy Samra and Tufan Singh, alias Tufani, are still at large, said Saini.
Asked whether any action would be taken against the abducted girl for concealing the facts, the DGP evaded a direct reply. “As she is a minor, she would be handed over to her parents,” he said.
Without naming any Congress leader, Saini said, “It is unfortunate that some persons tried to distort the facts and place them before the media in a mischievous manner to politicise the case pertaining to a minor girl. Had it not been for the sanctity of a minor girl, I would have avoided talking to the media on this case.”
Senior Congress leaders, including leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar and state party chief Capt Amarinder Singh, had accused the Punjab government of shielding the kidnappers and even supported the Faridkot bandh call against the police.
Giving details of the case, Saini said the girl, prior to her alleged abduction, had eloped with Nishan in June and they were found living in a room in Kharar as a “married couple”.
“Shruti’s family brought her back and kept her under strict supervision. Nishan’s mother went to Shruti’s house last month and asked her parents to allow her to marry Nishan. But Shruti’s parents refused, after which Nishan’s mother got her son to talk to Shruti, who asked him to take her away,” the DGP said.
Asked why Nishan was not arrested earlier after he eloped with the minor, Saini said he would look into the facts.
On September 24, Nishan, along with his three accomplices, went to Shruti’s house and abducted the girl at gunpoint, said the DGP, adding that 13 others had conspired to help Nishan in the crime. A case was registered against Nishan the same day under sections 452 (house trespass), 363 (kidnapping), 307 (attempt to murder), 420 (cheating) and 366A (procuration of minor girl) of the IPC and various sections of the Arms Act.
Saini said that after Shruti’s abduction, the other accused went into hiding at different places across the state, as planned, and Nishan and Shruti went to Moga to purchase some clothes before going to Ludhiana, from where they went to Chandigarh and stayed in Sector 22.
“After a couple of days, the two went to Gurgaon by train. They came to Paharganj in Delhi on September 27, from where Shruti couriered a letter to various people, including the police, stating that she was fine and had eloped with Nishan,” the DGP said, claiming that the letter had been distorted by some people.
The next day, the two boarded a train to Goa and started staying in a shack at Baga beach, he said.
June 25: Class 10 student Shruti Sachdeva kidnapped by gangster Nishan Singh
July 27: Shruti escapes; Nishan, though booked for kidnapping and rape, continues to roam freely in Faridkot
Sept 24: Nishan and his three armed accomplices barge into Shruti’s house at 9.40 am, attack her family members and kidnap her at gunpoint
Sept 27: Shruti and Nishan reach Gurgaon by train from Chandigarh
Sept 28: Board train to Goa from Delhi and reach there two days later
Oct 6: Faridkot DIG and SSP release a letter purportedly written by Shruti that says she eloped with Nishan
Oct 8: Police release photos of their marriage
Oct 11: Faridkot SSP transferred over his questionable role in the case
Oct 12: Faridkot residents hold bandh against police inaction
Oct 17: Police team dispatched to Goa
Oct 21: Nishan and Shruti found sitting at Baga beach
How the abduction case was cracked
The Punjab Police, after coming across some “indelible clues” left by Nishan while he was on the run, dispatched a 12-member crack team, which included two DSPs, three sub-inspectors and seven head constables, including a woman, to Goa on October 17. The brief given to the team was that it should first slip into concealing outfits and melt in the crowd of Western tourists, as brought out by HT in an exclusive report carried on Sunday. A few hours after taking their positions, the team sent back a message of having spotted Nishan in a crowded place. But they lost track of him while on his trail. They finally rescued Shruti and nabbed Nishan from Baga beach at 2.30 pm on Sunday.