Three days after a former sarpanch of Dhaipai village was let off by his kidnappers as his NRI brother paid Rs 30 lakh in ransom, the Ludhiana-rural police on Monday claimed to have cracked the case with the arrest of three men, including a cousin of the sarpanch who allegedly committed the crime — after taking inspiration from a television series — to be able to repay a debt. The police said they had also recovered nearly Rs 29 lakh of the ransom paid.
Ranjeet Singh had been kidnapped on April 28 and let off the next day. While the police were told of the kidnap, they were not told about the ransom payment until the victim was back home.
On Monday, addressing the media, Lok Nath Angra, inspector general of police (IGP), zone-2, Jalandhar, said Ranjeet’s cousin Mandeep Singh, 33, a resident of Pandori village near Mahal Kalan, was the mastermind. He was arrested along with namesake Mandeep Singh, 36, of Chhapa village in Barnala district, on Monday, while the third accused, Gurjant Singh, 23, also a resident of Pandori, had been arrested from Khamano on Sunday.
Gurjant is pursuing BSc besides preparing for the mandatory English test to migrate abroad, while the victim’s cousin Mandeep has studied up to Class 9. The other Mandeep is reported to be Class-12 qualified but claimed to be a doctor.
“The trio arranged a Mahindra Scorpio SUV from a relative of Mandeep (the victim’s cousin), and also had a revolver. The other Mandeep gave injections and used chloroform to make Ranjeet unconscious. He was kept near a pump room near some farmland that his NRI brother Hardeep Singh had recently sold off,” said the IGP. “They called Hardeep from Ranjeet’s phone and asked for a ransom of Rs 1.5 crore. Eventually, the deal was struck at Rs 30 lakh, which Hardeep’s local manager Baljeet Singh handed over; after which Ranjeet was released,” he added.
The police have recovered Rs 10 lakh, the Scorpio vehicle (CH-55-E-0833) from victim’s cousin Mandeep; Rs 9.45 lakh and a motorcycle from Gurjant; and Rs 9.45 lakh from the other Mandeep. “We are investigating further and will soon recover the revolver used too,” said Angra.
Upinderjit Singh Ghuman, senior superintendent of police, Ludhiana-rural, said that the victim’s family did not inform the cops “as they were trying to get him released first”. “We came to know that family had given the ransom from the victim after he was released,” he added. Constable Harpreet Singh was rewarded with Rs 50,000 for his role in cracking the case.
‘Learnt it from TV series’
“During investigation, the three men stated that before committing the crime they had thoroughly studied kidnapping cases from various crime series on television. They carefully studied what tricks police use to catch the criminals and what faults kidnappers commit,” said IGP Lok Nath Angra.