On January 25, five-year-old Vihaan Gupta was kidnapped from his school bus in Dilshad Garden, when two men on a motorcycle barged in and dragged the boy out. When the bus driver tried to stop them, one of the men shot him in the leg.
On Tuesday, the child was finally reunited with his family after Delhi police pulled off a risky rescue operation. It took the police 12 days, 18 cops working the case and a final gunfight in which one of the suspected kidnappers was shot dead to rescue the boy from a building in Ghaziabad.
The police tracked CCTV cameras and the multiple calls for ransom made by the abductors, which lead them to the three suspects and an empty two-bedroom flat on the fifth floor of Shalimar City, a housing society in Sahibabad, where Vihaan was being kept.
Here’s a blow-by-blow account of the kidnapping, the chase and the final rescue:
JANUARY 25; 7.30AM A mini bus, carrying schoolchildren, is waiting to pick up a student near GTBHospital in east Delhi. Two people on a bike stop near it. They point a gun and force the maid to open the gate of the van
The bus driver senses trouble and tries to drive away, but one of the men shoots him in the leg. As soon as the bus stops, the other man drags out five-year-old Vihaan Gupta
They pull the boy on their motorcycle and ride away towards Ghaziabad
The kidnappers take the boy to a 2BHK flat on the fifth floor of Shalimar City, a housing society in Sahibabad. Three men live in the flat with the child. Two of them carry guns. They wear masks to ensure the child does not identify them
The kidnappers bring food for the child in polythene bags. They make videos of the boy on their mobile phone and click his photos to send them to his parents to convince them that he is safe. Some women also visit the flat
To make the ransom calls to the boy’s father, the kidnappers visit various places in east Delhi and Ghaziabad
Police use technical surveillance and intelligence to know that one of the kidnappers will come to Vivek Vihar in east Delhi late Monday evening. Apolice team starts following his car after he picks up food for the child
For more than one hour, the police vehicles chase him. At one point, they lose sight of him after getting stuck in a jam near Nand Nagri. But thepolicemen on bikes trace him again
FEBRUARY 5; 11.35 PM: He is finally intercepted by the police at 11.35 pm in Seemapuri. Trying to escape, he rams two police cars.
Then, he jumps out of his car and tries to call his associates, but is captured. The police force the kidnapper to reveal the location of the hideout and the boy’s whereabouts
FEBRUARY 6; 12.50 AM: The police team reaches the Sahibabad flat, makes the arrested kidnapper ring the doorbell. Two policemen stand near him, while others wait for the door to open; Sensing trouble, the two kidnappers inside the flat shoot at two policemen
A policeman shoots back and a bullet hits a kidnapper in the neck, killing him on the spot. The other is hit in the thigh. The injured man is kept at gunpoint while policemen break the door
The boy is found sitting beside a bed in the bedroom. The boy was frightened. Police pick him up and convince him that they are not criminals
Illustration: ANIMESH DEVNATH
First Published: Feb 07, 2018 15:43 IST