Patna, May 21: A missing Patna neurosurgeon was today rescued at dawn from the city outskirts, but allegations that a Union minister and a Samata Party legislator had a hand in his kidnap set a bigger political drama rolling.
Three days after Dr Ramesh Chandra went missing, a crack team of Patna police traced him to a mud hut in Chirora village. But Bihar director-general of police set political circles rippling by claiming that two phone calls had been made to C.P. Thakur’s residence by the kidnappers.
In a statement, DGP D.P. Ojha said the police had evidence that one of the kidnappers made two calls to Thakur’s fixed phone (No. 2226545) from his mobile a few hours after the US-trained doctor was abducted. Thakur, himself a doctor, is the minister in charge of small-scale industries and development of the Northeast in the Vajpayee government.
“We have evidence that the talks might have continued for two minutes,” Ojha said. A kidnapper snatched the doctor’s cell, inserted his own simcard and dialled Thakur, he added.
The minister has denied any involvement. Brushing off the allegations as mere “politics”, he said: “Any call from a stranger to my house does not mean I am involved. In my house, at least 200 party workers always stay on the ground floor.”
An hour after the disclosure, the name of Samata MLA Sunil Pandey was dragged in by one of the eight persons arrested for the kidnap. One Bablu Singh claimed he was asked by Pandey to abduct the doctor. “There was a deal of Rs 50 lakh between him and us,” he said at a news conference organised by senior superintendent of police Sunil Kumar with the doctor.
Bablu claimed the MLA had also been involved in the earlier kidnap of Dr G.K. Singh in Hajipur. Pandey, he said, had grabbed the lion’s share of the ransom —leaving only Rs 20,000 for the kidnappers — and asked them to go in for another kidnap.
Pandey said the police were unnecessarily framing him under pressure from the ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal. “If they have proof against me, I dare them to drag me to court,” he said.
RJD boss Laloo Prasad Yadav grabbed the opportunity to get at Thakur and his party, the BJP. He released a computer printout of the calls made from mobile No. 9835212243 to the minister’s residence and pointed out that they had lasted two minutes.
“Dr Thakur and the BJP stand exposed. The police will act according to law against both the Samata MLA and the Union minister,” Laloo Prasad said.
Thakur trashed the allegations as a “calculated act” but the RJD chief went a step further. Claiming that Pandey and Thakur had always been very close, he said: “When Dr Thakur was thrown out of the ministry, it was Sunil Pandey who had organised a violent demonstration in Patna against the BJP.”