Jamuria (Burdwan), Nov. 1: Police here rescued a three-year-old boy from a gang of kidnappers led by the son of an Eastern Coalfields employee while it was heading for a hideout in Uttar Pradesh.
Manoj Sharma, 22, was joined by five friends and the driver of an Ambassador, in which they had planned to get away. All of them have been arrested.
Manoj used to accompany Rishab Singhania to the playground in the afternoons over the past month. He had befriended the Singhanias, who had a prosperous grocery business.
Last evening, after Rishab failed to return home after play, the family lodged a complaint with the police. A police team from Asansol combed the entire coal belt for over 10 hours and picked up the abductors from a shanty in Mahabir Coalfield.
Burdwan police superintendent B.N. Ramesh said Manoj, Guddu Rajbhar, 24, Krishan Kumar, 19, Nageswar Shaw, 20, Subodh Sharma, 20, and Ramji Ghore, 21, were close friends studying together in a television technician training institute at Sarsole in Ranigunj.
“They engaged a driver, Naresh Keora, 25, to take Rishab to some safe haven in Uttar Pradesh from where they could negotiate the ransom,” Ramesh said.
With Rishab, the youths moved into a shanty near the colliery where Subodh’s brother lived.
The police raided the shanty after getting to know from an old man at the ground that he had seen a youth ride off with the boy on a bicycle towards Grand Trunk Road.
Rishab’s father Sajjan Singhania said he had never realised Manoj could turn into a villain. “He was very polite with us and my son got to like him a lot, Rishab has had a miraculous escape, thanks to the police.”