2-year-old kidnapped for ₹4 crore ransom rescued from Moga, 1 held
The two-year-old son of the owner of Keys Hotels who was kidnapped from his house in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar Colony was rescued from Moga on Wednesday, a day after the family’s driver abducted him and demanded ₹4 crore as ransom.
The police have arrested former Malluwal Baniya village (Zira, Ferozepur) sarpanch Rachpal Singh, while three other co-conspirators — Harjinderpal Kumar of Manakwal village, Ludhiana; Lal Singh of Amargarh Badiyan village, Zira and Sukhdev Singh alias Sukha of Jhotian Wali village, Fazikla, are on the run. All the accused are already facing trial in several criminal cases, including murder and kidnapping.
On Tuesday, the toddler’s father, Pankaj Gupta, a hotelier and realtor, informed the police that their driver, Harjinderpal, had taken his son for a spin in their Maruti Suzuki Swift car but had not returned. Later, the kidnappers demanded ₹4 crore for their son’s release, said commissioner of police Rakesh Agrawal.
Punjab director general of police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta sounded an alert in all districts of the state and pressed around 2,000 police personnel to trace the child.
“We were keeping tabs on the location of the driver Harjinderpal who had switched off his phone in Moga. We dispatched several police teams to Moga and conducted multiple raids with help of the local police. Meanwhile, Gupta’s Maruti Swift car was found abandoned in Ludhiana,” Agrawal said.
After the police launched an intensive search, the kidnappers abandoned the boy in a Volkswagen Polo near Dagru Railway crossing. “Around 8am, the kidnappers called Mukta Gupta, the boy’s mother, and informed her of the child’s whereabouts. We recovered the child safely with the help of the Moga police,”said Agrawal.
A case was registered under Sections 364A (kidnapping for ransom), 369 (abducting a child under ten years), 342 (wrongful confinement), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 381 (theft from employer) of the Indian Penal Code at the Dugri Police station.
“We arrested one Rachhpal Singh and seized a .32 bore pistol, 35 bullets, .12 bore double-barrel gun, a single-barrel gun, 62 live cartridges and two shells from his possession. A hunt is on for the remaining accused,” the police commissioner said. A fake police uniform and a fake identification were also recovered from him.
Conspiracy hatched over two years
Agrawal said the accused had been hatching the conspiracy for two years. “Harjinderpal had joined as driver two years ago with the intention of kidnapping any family member for ransom. On Tuesday, he kidnapped the child,” he said.
The boy’s father Pankaj said his father Prem Gupta had hired the accused two years ago. However, as his father passed away a year ago, he was not sure whether his father had police verification done but says he has a photocopy of the accused’s Aadhar Card.
The police chief said Harjinder was a habitual offender and had been facing trial in five criminal cases — including kidnapping, robberies and forgery in Fazilka, Sirhind, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Lal has two cases, including murder and kidnapping, registered against him and Sukha has six cases, including drug peddling and robbery, lodged against him.
Interdepartmental credit war
The Ludhiana and Moga police have indulged in a credit war after the safe recovery of the child. Moga superintendent of police Jagatpreet Singh held a press conference and claimed they had rescued the child with help of Ludhiana police after a long operation.
The SP handed over the child to his parents in front of the media.
Hours later, the Ludhiana police held a press conference in Ludhiana and handed over the child to his parents again