Faridabad resident held hostage by honey trap gang rescued, two held
A 22-year-old Faridabad resident who was being illegally confined in Ludhiana of Punjab for a ransom of ₹10 lakh, after being lured by a honey trap, was rescued and two persons arrested, the police said.
The suspects, identified as Pooja (20) and Ajay Kumar (21), of Ludhiana, were booked under sections 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code at Tigaon police station on Sunday.
The suspects were produced in court and taken on a two-day police remand on Tuesday. A third suspect, identified as Raj Kumar (21), is yet to be arrested.
According to the police, Pooja used to befriend businessmen from Delhi-NCR on phone, invite them to a rented apartment in Ludhiana and record their intimate videos to extort money by threatening to implicate them in false cases of sexual assault. In some cases, the gang would also hold their victims hostage.
The police said that Ajay was the kingpin and used to provide the phone numbers to Pooja. They were involved in such crimes for three years and started aggressively calling businessmen over the past month after lockdown rules were relaxed.
“Once the woman was confident that the victims trusted her, she would invite them to Ludhiana at her rented room and her aides suddenly barged inside as per the plan and clicked their pictures and recorded videos in objectionable position,” said OP Singh, the commissioner of police, Faridabad.
The police said that the gang had extorted money from several businessmen, who did not approach the police due to fear of being exposed.
In one such instance, Pooja had befriended the 22-year-old Faridabad resident on June 21, invited him to Ludhiana on July 7 and held him hostage, the police said. The Faridabad resident’s mother, a 45-year-old woman, received a ransom call on the same day but approached the police only on July 11.
The Faridabad resident used to run a welding shop and earned around ₹15,000 a month. However, the gang was demanding ₹10 lakh, which the woman was unable to pay.
Singh said that the mother had already transferred ₹10,000 to her son through her mobile phone on July 7 after taking a loan from neighbours. “They were demanding more money and she had no other source. We immediately formed a team and started tracking the mobile phone and conducted technical surveillance. The location was found to be in Ludhiana,” he said.
The police said that a team was dispatched on July 11 to Ishwar Colony in Ludhiana’s Fogul area. As the mother was constantly in touch with the gang, it was not difficult to pinpoint their location, the police said.
Singh said that the Faridabad resident did not reveal his identity and claimed to be earning ₹5 lakh a month, following which Pooja invited him to Faridabad. “Only when they held him hostage and demanded money did he reveal that he was a welder and earned ₹15,000 a month,” he said.