Kidnap plot goes awry; businessman, management students nabbed (Lead)

November 24th, 2008 - 8:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) A businessman wishing to settle a personal grudge and two management students from well-known institutes needing to cover up their market losses joined hands to kidnap a 14-year-old boy here but soon developed cold feet and released him, Delhi Police said Monday after arresting them.Bharat Jhamb, 21, along with Piyush Jain, 21, and Rohit Chopra, 24, who are pursuing masters in business administration (MBA) from IMT in Ghaziabad and IGNOU respectively, were arrested Sunday for allegedly kidnapping Arjun Verma, a Class 9 student of the Gyan Bharati School. Arjun is a first cousin of Jhamb.

On Thursday morning, like any other morning, Verma was walking to his school with his friend Ankit in Saket area of south Delhi, barely a few metres from his home, when he was kidnapped.

Two and half a hours later, the accused made a ransom call to Verma’s family, demanding Rs.8 million for his safe release, the police said.

However, they released the boy with his hands tied and mouth strapped with white bandages early Friday in Okhla area fearing police action.

But even after releasing the boy, the accused, all from affluent families and living in the DLF area of Gurgaon, again called up the Verma family and asked it to arrange the ransom money within 10 days threatening to harm the boy next time.

Verma’s father passed away last year. The boy has his mother and three sisters, two of whom are married and one is described as mentally retarded.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Delhi) H.G.S. Dhaliwal said the accused had hatched the kidnapping plot to the minute detail.

“Piyush Jain, who is also a stock sub-broker, had made heavy losses in the recent stock market crash. Chopra lost his money in the property market in Gurgaon and other National Capital Region (NCR) areas,” Dhaliwal said.

“Bharat Jhamb had a personal grudge against the boy’s family since their large property was divided among the families. The three hatched the conspiracy to kidnap Verma to make up losses and settle a personal score as well,” he added.

According to the police, their joint loses could be more than Rs. 8 million.

Three other accused, identified as Dalip Singh Rathore, 24, Parveen Kashyap, 27, and Ramesh Singh, 30, were also arrested on the charges of kidnapping. A silver-colour Hyundai car, which Jain’s father Parveen Kumar owned and was used in the crime, has been impounded.

Jain, Chopra and Jhamb used to regularly visit Kashyap’s hair saloon where they befriended one another. Kashyap was the facilitator among them and Rathore, who was once arrested in a case of extortion.

Singh, who is a close associate of Rathore, arranged fake mobile SIM cards and used mobile phones for making ransom calls.

The three hired Rathore for Rs.100,000 to kidnap and made an advance payment of Rs.40,000. They said they would pay him more after getting the ransom money.

Rathore rented a building in Sukhrali village in Sector-16 in Gurgaon from its owner Suresh Ahlawat for Rs.15,000 per month to safekeep Verma there.

Dhaliwal said on the day of kidnapping, Rathore, Jain, Chopra and Singh drove in a silver Hyundai Getz car and approached Verma who was on his way to school. They mentioned his sister’s name and asked her address.

“The boy sat with them in the car thinking that the men know his family and want to go to his home. They, however, took the road to the rented building in Gurgaon and threatened him to keep quiet,” he said.

After the boy was set free in Okhla, some passers-by took him to his home. He told the police that the accused roamed around in the NCR region for sometime before taking him to a rural area.

“The boy told us that there he noticed a school where students held prayers in Sanskrit,” Dhaliwal said.

The police said they mounted surveillance in the NCR region before identifying the building. Ahlawat told the police that he had rented the building to Rathore, leading to the arrest of all the accused.

The boy’s mother Sapna said the family was relieved with the arrest of the accused.

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