Parents of Gurugram teen abducted 8 years ago continue the fight to find him
Sachin Singh, the 15-year-old son of Gurugram residents Ajit and Usha Singh, was kidnapped by unidentified persons on January 31, 2011, minutes after he left for school in the morning. He hasn’t been found till date.Updated: Jan 31, 2019 12:48 IST
For the last eight years, Ajit Singh (61) and his wife, Usha (58), have spent almost all their waking hours gazing at the door of their house in Sector 14 — hoping that their son, who was kidnapped on January 31, 2011, would knock on the door and flash a smile at them.
But their long wait is yet to end.
Life took an ugly turn for the Singh family when some unidentified persons kidnapped their 15-year-old son, Sachin, minutes after he left for school around 7.15am that cold January morning. Despite providing the kidnappers the ransom they demanded, the family failed to get back their son. But they are hopeful that he will return one day.
Recounting the events of that fateful morning, Usha said, “It was around 7am when he got ready and told us he’s leaving for school. I packed his lunch and reminded him to keep in the bag. It was unbearably cold that day; I noticed him wearing just a sweater. I asked him to put on a coat or a jacket but he refused, saying that he would anyway have to remove it once he reaches school. His father was sleeping in his room so Sachin left without meeting him.”
He had to walk till the gate of their colony to catch the school bus every day, she added.
That morning, his mother said, he was on his way to school after four days — “I made kadi-chawal, his favourite, for lunch because he was not keeping well,” she said. The youngster, the parents recalled, was an extrovert. He liked to play badminton and diligently used to go to the park inside the colony to play.
When the class 10 student of a private school in DLF Phase 1 did not return even around 3pm, the time he usually used to come back home, his mother called him on his mobile phone only to find the device switched off. After waiting for another hour, the parents reached out to his friends, who informed them that he had not turned up at the school.
Worried, his parents started contacting all their relatives and his friends but no one had any clue about Sachin’s whereabouts. “My husband consoled me, told me that it is likely that he has gone for a movie with a friend. But my gut feeling told me something was not right,” Usha said.
Around 7pm, while out for work, Sachin’s father Ajit received a call from an unidentified number. They wanted Rs15 lakh in case they wanted their son — safe and sound.
“Panicked, I started yelling at them. I wanted to know where my son is and wanted to speak to him. He said those who had kidnapped him had handed him over to someone else and he was with him at another location. Within moments, the caller disconnected the call. I immediately called my friend and told him. But, I did not tell anyone at home about the call,” Ajit said.
Soon after receiving the call, Ajit approached police and informed them of the ransom demand. The police team took down the details and started their investigation. The policemen scanned the call detail records of the kidnapper’s number and found that the SIM card was bought from a shop at Ghitorni in Delhi. The identity card provided during the purchase belonged to a resident of Aya Nagar. The police were, however, unable to trace that man. As part of their probe, the police nabbed the shopkeeper who had sold the SIM card. They found out that the shopkeeper had been given a forged document. But the second-hand handset used to make the call was bought from Dundahera, police found.
On February 3, 2011, a case under IPC sections 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent of secretly or wrongfully confining a person) and 387 (putting a person in fear of death or of grievous hurt in order to commit extortion) was filed at Civil Lines police station. Later, charges under IPC Section 364A (kidnapping for ransom) was added to the FIR. On February 7, the abductors called Ajit once again, this time using Sachin’s mobile phone. They told him to board a train for Ala Hazrat with the cash and that they would later tell him where to alight.
“Several plain-clothed policemen were with me in different compartments of the train but the kidnappers got wind of the police presence and asked me to return home. On February 8, 2011, they called and asked me to come. Meanwhile, police had traced the location from which the call had come – Moradabad in UP. But the kidnappers kept changing their locations, and hence, could not be traced,” Ajit said.
The family regularly kept receiving calls from the abductors but their regular requests to let them speak to their son were turned down. They never heard Sachin’s voice since the day he left. On February 20, the father kept Rs 8 lakh in a bag and left with the police but the abductors kept asking them to change locations and refused to take the money, sensing danger, the father said.
After six days, on February 26, 2011, the father decided to go meet the abductors without the police accompanying him. He had travelled five times earlier. He boarded the train at 1.10 pm from Delhi to Moradabad. When he reached there, the abductors called him to Gajraula, some 54 kilometres away.
“I was carrying Rs 8 lakh with me so I was very careful. That was the maximum amount I could arrange. I was keeping a close watch on every movement near me and suspected every person who looked at me or was passing through my seat. When I reached Gajraula, the abductor called me again and asked me to board a passenger train to Bijnor. He asked me to stand at the train door and throw the bag out of the running train when he signalled me with a torch light,” said Ajit, a businessman.
It was dark and nothing was visible, Ajit said, adding that he kept holding the bag tightly with one hand and held on to the pole on the side of the train with the other. “When the train neared Chandpur, around 34 kilometres away from Gajraula and towards Bijnor, one of the abductors lit a torch and flashed it at the train. The train was moving slowly. I saw the torchlight, threw the bag at them but I was unable to get a glimpse of the man’s face,” Ajit recounted.
After returning to Gurugram, he waited for a call from the abductors about when they’d return his son. But the abductors never called him again.
Meanwhile, police recovered the mobile phone from which the first ransom call was made from Moradabad. A bus conductor found it lying below a bus seat while cleaning and gave it to his brother-in-law.
No news yet
With no more breakthroughs, the police investigation became dormant. Ajit claimed he even met a senior police officer in Lucknow in March, 2011, and he assured help. But the Gurugram police were overconfident and refused to take help, claimed the father.
probe faced another setback when the then investigating officer, sub-inspector Kuldeep Kishore, allegedly committed suicide on March 4, 2017, at Sadar police station by shooting himself in the heart. Sources said he accidently shot himself while cleaning the service weapon.
Another investigating officer, Naresh Yadav, the inspector in charge of the Sector 31 crime investigation agency (CIA), said he does not remember the case well but only that they had tried their best to solve it. The case is still pending but no investigation is currently underway.
In 2013, the father approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2013 after the police failed to trace the boy. The court asked police to form a special investigation team (SIT) but they too were unable to find any clue in the case.
The father said he wants the investigation to be started again. He believes he will find answers if the Uttar Pradesh police gets involved. He said he has visited the area several times in the last eight years and have posted pamphlets near railway stations and bus stands but to no relief.
“I was receiving consistent calls. They even asked me to recharge Sachin’s mobile phone. If the police wanted, they could have traced their location and arrested them. I feel the police were negligent in their approach else my son would have been with us today,” alleged the father.
Senior police officers presently posted in the city said they were not aware of the case.
The family also went to hundreds of astrologers in the quest of solutions and each one, they said, said he would be back.
“Many say Sachin might have been killed. But how can parents believe that their son is dead? I have a strong belief that he will return one day and I will serve him his favourite kadi chawal,” said Sachin’s mother, with tears in her eyes.
The mother said when Sachin went missing, their daughter was in the first year of college in Delhi university. “We used to drop her to college and pick her up every day out of fear,” she said. “We have no enmity with anyone. He was merely a 15-year-old boy who was busy studying, playing and spending time with his friends and family members,” said Sachin’s mother.
The family said they are still in dark about why he was kidnapped. But they hope to know everything once their son returns as a young man.
First Published: Jan 31, 2019 12:45 IST