Dhanbad, Aug. 18: Police have sealed all entry and exit points of Jharia after the teenaged son of a local businessman was kidnapped yesterday evening and his family received a ransom call from his mobile phone demanding Rs 20 lakh.
Saurabh Sharma, 13, a Class VIII student of DAV Centenary Public School at Baniahir and a resident of the locality, went missing after he had gone to attend his science tuition classes at Jora Pokhar, 2km away, at 4pm.
According to police sources, Saurabh attended classes at the house of his tutor, Mrinal Das, as usual until around 6pm.
But his family members began to panic when Saurabh failed to return home after more than three hours. Soon afterwards, his father Surendra Sharma, a senior officer with BCCL who also deals in tent houses and transportation, received a call from his son’s mobile phone.
The caller asked Sharma to pay up Rs 20 lakh within three days or be prepared to see the mutilated body of his son. He was also warned not to inform the police, with the caller claiming they were seasoned kidnappers.
Sharma, however, lodged a complaint with Jharia police late last night. The police have launched a search operation in Jharia and raided a number of places since last night, without any success yet.
Sharma told The Telegraph that he heard a few other persons talking in the background when he received the ransom call. He refused to name anybody as potential suspects.
Sources said the police were puzzled to find that Saurabh’s mobile was traced to a location within Jharia, which is about 7km from Dhanbad. For, experienced kidnappers were likely to take the victim to some other place, as there was enough time to flee before the entry and exit points were sealed.
Deputy superintendent of police (Jharia) R.N. Sharma, who went to the DAV school today and questioned staff and students, said he was told that Saurabh was not serious in his studies and frequently missed classes, including tuition.
Saurabh, he was also told, hadn’t been keeping good company.
The police have also interrogated three of his friends who attended the tuition classes with him.
The DSP said they were keeping a close eye on Saurabh’s friends. “We have tracked the list of calls made to and from his mobile phone. Judging by that, we suspect the involvement of a few close associates of the family in the kidnapping episode. Investigations are on and we are sure to crack the case,” said the DSP.