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Teen hostage turns hunter

From kidnap victim to kidnapper, 18-year-old Sunil Singh has come full circle in the past three months.

Son of Durgapur businessman R.D. Singh, Sunil was kidnapped from near his house in early August by a gang of criminals from Jharkhand. Shortly after, the ransom calls started pouring in. The Singhs filed a complaint with the police and the CID was called in.

The police traced the kidnap calls to Jharkhand. Negotiations on the ransom amount ended on a sum of Rs 1 lakh. By the end of August, Sunil’s parents agreed to pay the ransom rather than risk their son’s life. According to the police, the ransom was paid, but Sunil did not return home.

Had the kidnappers double-crossed the family' The police, initially, believed that was what had happened. But as investigations by the CID progressed, the picture altered.

The West Bengal government sought the help of Jharkhand police and the securitymen went after the kidnappers. The sleuths found that Sunil was no longer in the custody of his kidnappers. He was with them.

Acting on information provided by the West Bengal police, which had been monitoring the calls that the Singhs had been receiving from Sunil’s kidnappers, the Jharkhand police had traced the abductors to Dhanbad in September. But before they could net any of them, the kidnappers had fled the hideout.

The police managed to latch on to two of their accomplices who, during interrogation, said that Sunil had joined the gang and had played a part in a couple of crimes committed recently in the area.

“The Jharkhand police has evidence that Sunil is part of the gang,” said special superintendent, CID, Manoj Malaviya. “Besides, we have been able to corroborate this on the basis of certain recent kidnap threats to three city businessmen.”

Malaviya said the kidnap threats were being jointly probed by the city police and the CID. “We have traced the extortion calls received by these three businessmen,” Malaviya said. “All have been made from the same public call office that Sunil’s abductors had used.”

Malaviya is heading a special task force set up by inspector-general, CID, Partha Bhattacharya, to probe this case. “Investigations are on and we should be able to get to the bottom of this soon,” Bhattacharya said. He, however, refused to divulge any details of the case.

State director-general of police Dinesh Vajpai has also stepped into the scene. “We are working overtime to stop criminals from other states getting into West Bengal,” he said.

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