The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mother by phone, not at fair

Nov. 14: Nidhi Gupta had planned to take her three-year-old son Anant and his elder sister Ankita to fairs in Delhi today on Children’s Day. Instead, she spent much of the day sitting next to the telephone.

Even 24 hours after Anant was abducted in front of his Noida house as he waited for his school bus, police were searching for clues.

“We are investigating a few possibilities. The kidnapping was well coordinated, so that implies a well-oiled process that could involve inside help. But there are no definite leads,” said senior superintendent of police R.K.S. Rathore.

Police sources say the two kidnappers, who came on a motorcycle, may have escaped their dragnet.

Since last evening, joint teams from Noida and Delhi police, assisted by the Uttar Pradesh special task force, have panned out over a 100-km radius around Sector 15 A, from where Anant, son of Adobe India CEO Naresh Gupta, was kidnapped.

Asha, the maid who was with Anant when he was kidnapped, has been questioned but has not been able to provide much assistance, police sources said.

They said she was shown pictures of several criminals the police believe could have been involved, but did not identify any of them.

In Lucknow, Hiramony Singh Yadav, special secretary, home, said the state police are keeping a close watch. “A massive drive is on to trace the boy. We are hoping to make a breakthrough soon.”

The morning, though, brought little relief for Anant’s family. Police sources confirmed that Nidhi received a ransom call early in the day. Neither the police, nor anyone in the family was willing to reveal the amount sought or other details of the call.

Gupta, who was in the US, reached India early in the morning. Beseeching cameramen not to take photographs of his family members, he turned emotional as he urged the media not to reveal sensitive details on the investigation. “Anything you reveal will also reach them (the kidnappers). Please be careful,” he pleaded.

Nidhi said the children wanted to ride merry-go-rounds. Anant and Ankita, she added, were “looking forward to visiting the Teen Murti Bhavan mela and a mela at Punjabi Bagh”. Ankita, 8, did not go to school today.

At Lotus Valley, where Anant and Ankita study, the mood was sombre. Skits and songs planned for Children’s Day have been put on hold. “We will hold a special Children’s Day when Anant comes back,” said Madhu Chandra, the principal.

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