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Engineer cousins turn kidnappers

Chennai, Nov. 3: Two engineering graduates looking to make a fast buck were today trapped by Chennai police after they kidnapped a schoolboy and freed him for a ransom of nearly Rs 1 crore.

The duo, cousins in their twenties and one with an MBA from England, whisked off Keerthivasan, 13, as he was walking towards his Tavera parked outside his school in Mogappair in west Chennai. They shoved aside the driver who was waiting by the car, hustled the class IX boy in and sped away on Monday.

Chennai police commissioner T. Rajendran said at a news conference R. Vijay, 26, and Prabhu, 29, had been tipped off by a cousin who worked with Keerthivasan’s father Ramesh that he owned a huge granite and textile business. So they plotted the kidnap, eyeing Rs 3 crore as ransom.

What the duo did not anticipate was that Ramesh would get in touch with the cops. On instructions from the police, he whittled down the amount to a crore and agreed to stand near his Anna Nagar home to hand the money over.

Watched over by a police team, Ramesh waited on Tuesday night for the kidnappers. They came on a motorcycle, grabbed the suitcase and shouted out that Keerthivasan was in the boot of a Mahindra Logan parked nearby.

The boy was found in the vehicle, with a hole drilled at the bottom of the boot to ensure he could breathe. He was conscious and had no injuries.

“Though we cordoned off the area, we did not want to take chances as the first priority was to get the boy back safely,” said additional commissioner Shakeel Akthar.

A police team then quietly trailed the speeding motorcycle from a distance till it pulled up at a small house, just 2km from Keerthivasan’s home.

“On Wednesday morning, we stormed the house and took them by surprise… surrounded by the money and liquor bottles,” Akthar said.

What has surprised the police is that Vijay and Prabhu come from well-to-do families. Vijay is the son of a retired customs official. Prabhu’s father is a paramedical worker.

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