Hazaribagh, March 13: Police today claimed to have cracked the Lalit Jain abduction case by arresting five persons, but reiterated that no ransom was paid by the eye specialist’s family to secure his release.
Superintendent of police (SP) Pankaj Kamboj confirmed the arrests, saying that the kingpin of the five-member gang was 23-year-old Md Noor. He added that the arrested had revealed that they had not received any ransom and released Jain after police started massive raids. The car that was used in the abduction has also been arrested.
“Last evening, Noor had come to the doctor’s house at Jama Masjid Road to collect the ransom. However, he could not meet the doctor or get the money. We had kept a watch on the house and arrested him soon after he came out,” Kamboj said.
The other four — Manoj Kumar alias Bablu, Md Aslam, Md Afroz alias Raju and driver of the car Masood Nayar alias Sonu — were picked up from different places yesterday only.
Jain (53) was kidnapped by five unidentified men, claiming to be Naxalite Kundan Pahan’s aides, on Friday when he had set out for morning walk. He returned home around 6pm with injuries on his face, arms and legs, triggering speculation that his family had paid ransom. A relative of the Jains had said yesterday that he was freed after his family coughed up a hefty amount.
“Noor has admitted that he chalked out the abduction plan with his four associates at a gym near Jain’s house to make “quick money”. The abductors had demanded Rs 20 lakh from the doctor’s family and took him to the forest of Adra between Hazaribagh and Chatra in a car,” Kamboj said.
Noor told police that Jain started crying and promised to pay a “hefty” amount, but requested the kidnappers to first release him. “The doctor apparently gave two telephone numbers to the abductors, assuring them that they would not be cheated. Noor said he dropped the doctor near his home on a bike,” the SP added.
However, sources said Jain was released only after his family paid the first installment of the ransom. “Noor was caught when he came to collect the final installment,” a source added.
Apart from Noor, who had had served eight months at Chatra Jail in a dacoity case, none of the other four has criminal background. The gym where the abduction plot was hatched belonged to Bablu while Raju is an owner of a watch shop. Driver Sonu was a student of Ananda College. In fact, Sonu had gone to Pune to study, but was forced to leave college because of financial constraints.
Police have recovered a countrymade pistol, two live cartridges, a knife, two bikes and five mobile phones from the abductors. “We also found out Noor’s diary in which Jain had noted down the doctor’s numbers,” Kamboj said.
Meanwhile, Jain was still in deep shock and is not in a position to talk even as other morning walkers who venture out to the picturesque Hazaribagh lake voiced their fears. After Jain’s abduction, many of them have stopped coming out.
“Though Jain was not abducted from the lake area, he was on his way there. The incident has definitely scared many,” said Sanjeev Kumar, an employee of a private company.
“I have noticed that the number of morning walkers have come over the past two days,” added Dhruv Narayan Upadhayay, a government employee.