| Aditya Kumar and (right) Suraj Kumar Pathak who allegedly hatched the plot to kidnap Amarjeet (in inset). Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Patna, Dec. 24: A 10-year-old schoolboy was taken hostage and strangulated to death by four of his teenaged friends who wanted to make a killing by extracting regular ransom from the boy’s businessman-father without informing him of his son’s death.
Amarjeet Kumar, a Grade Five student of KPS Memorial High School in Gardanibagh, had stepped out of his south Patna home in Saristabad around 1.30pm on Monday to buy a shuttle cork. That was the last the family saw of him. The same evening, his father, Akhilesh Prasad, a land dealer, started receiving ransom calls, prompting the police to register a case of kidnapping. Unknown to them, Amarjeet was already dead.
Patna police recovered the body of Amarjeet, stashed in a jute sack, late last night under the Chipra bridge near the bypass road. Two of the boys who allegedly plotted the murder were arrested after police traced the ransom calls made to Amarjeet’s father. The other two are absconding.
Among the two arrested is Aditya Kumar, 13, a student of the same school Amarjeet went to. The other boy in custody is Suraj Kumar Pathak, a Grade 12 student of another Patna school. The two absconding are Vikas, a Grade 8 student, and Luv Kumar Choubey, an ITI student in Patna.
According to information the police claim to have got from Aditya, the boys had lured Amarjeet to come along with them with the promise of gifting him an iPod. They then took him to a lodge in the old Jakanpur area on the outskirts of Patna where Luv stayed. He was murdered at the same place.
Patna senior superintendent of police B.S. Meena said the boys had it all planned. “They had planned to kill the boy first and dispose of the body. They felt that if he was not killed, the police could track them easily and Amarjeet could also escape. They strangulated the boy on December 20 and put his body in a jute sack and dumped it under the bridge near the bypass road. There are burn marks in the body which suggest that they had even tried to set it on fire so that the body could not be recognised. They then started calling the family for ransom. Before Amarjeet was killed, the boys had taken the cell phone number of his parents,” Meena said.
The boys made two to three calls to the family for ransom. “The plan was to extract money from the family again and again. If they would have got the money, they had planned to keep quiet for a while and then call the family again for more ransom,” Meena said.
Police said the duo was arrested after constant surveillance of the mobile phone from which they were calling. “These boys had stolen a cell phone with a SIM card and were using it for calling up Amarjeet’s family. The police were constantly tracking it. They were on the move too but we continued to track them leading to their arrest,” Meena said.
Aditya, a resident of Gautam Nagar Janta Road in Gardanibagh, said the plan was originally hatched by Luv. “Earlier this month, we were sitting in the room of Luv when he said that he was in dire need of money and gave us the idea of plotting a kidnap to earn a fast buck. He asked me to identify a probable victim. First I thought about the son of a judge living in my locality. But Luv rejected the idea as the kidnap of a judge’s son would be very serious. Then I thought about Amarjeet, a student of my school who used to live in a locality close to mine. I pointed him out to Luv who agreed,” the police quoted Aditya as saying.
Aditya, the police said, told them the plan was to lure the boy and not take him by force.
“I spoke to him in school and befriended him. On December 20, when he had gone out of his house, I met him and asked him whether he wanted an iPod. He was interested and I asked him to accompany me. He was on his bicycle and we rode towards the lodge in Jakanpur where the others were waiting. We took him to the room and then took down the contact details of his parents. Then we strangulated him to death. In the evening, we took his body and dumped it under the bridge. The bicycle was also thrown there. Then we started calling the family,” Aditya told the police.
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