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Special sleuth cell to crack kidnaps
- CM springs to defend cops facing abduction heat

Calcutta, March 17: The government has drawn up plans to create a CID cell dedicated to handling kidnapping cases.

'The cell will comprise experts, sophisticated equipment and involve foreign training (for personnel),' the chief minister said in the Assembly.

The state has witnessed a spate of abductions in the past few years and in many cases, police have been accused of botching up rescue missions.

However, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee claimed success saying the force was on the verge of submitting a chargesheet in the Roma Jhawar kidnap case. 'Twelve people, including the main accused Gunjan Ghosh ' a notorious criminal ' were arrested and Rs 19.31 lakh was recovered. We will soon submit the chargesheet,' Bhattacharjee said in reply to a question from Opposition leader Pankaj Banerjee.

Banerjee said the Jhawars of Salt Lake got Roma back after paying the ransom and the police could not claim credit for that. 'Earlier, (Exide chief) Satyabrata Ganguly and (Khadim co-owner) Partha Pratim Roy Burman returned home after paying ransom. If kidnappers release people after receiving their ransom, what is the role of the police' the Trinamul Congress leader asked.

But according to Bhattacharjee, who looks after police being in charge of the home portfolio, the force has cracked most kidnapping cases and arrested the criminals.

Ganesh Palodhi of Bauria in Howrah, however, could not be saved last year. The chief minister admitted the lapse. 'The kidnappers killed the four-year-old boy without waiting for the ransom. We could not save the boy.'

The Jhawar family, he said, had sought the government's nod before paying the ransom. 'We gave it (the permission) considering the life of the girl,' Bhattacharjee said.

'The kidnappers could have killed the girl if they were not paid the ransom. Our main objective was to get the girl out of the clutches of the kidnappers. So, we told the Jhawars not to take any risk and pay the ransom. However, we recovered the maximum amount of the ransom,' he added.

Referring to Ganguly's abduction, the chief minister said the police could not crack the case as he refused to appear in court. 'I had personally spoken to Ganguly, but he did not want to proceed with the case. The police had arrested a gang from Bihar and we came to know that the abductors took him by mistake. The target was someone else.'

Bhattacharjee said the main accused in the Khadim case, don Aftab Ansari, is in the net and the case all but solved. A special court is hearing it.

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