| Ajit Kumar at deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s janata durbar on Tuesday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Patna, May 21: A Mumbai-based scientist today exploded the all-is-well halo the government proudly rings itself with, narrating how the administration has done precious little to trace his father, who insisted on staying on in Bihar, but was abducted around 17 days ago.
Ajit Kumar, a scientist with the department of atomic energy, Heavy Water Board, Mumbai, is at a loss. His 58-year-old father Baikunth Modi, a fabric trader, was abducted earlier this month and police have not been able to trace him even after an FIR was lodged.
With the hope to free his father from the clutches of abductors, the 28-year-old `scientist hailing from Jamui visited deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s durbar. Handing over the application, Ajit said: “Sir, my father was abducted on May 5. I am running from pillar to post in search of him but the police have failed to give me a satisfactory response. What shall I do, sir? You are my only hope now.”
Modi’s response, however, left the young scientist with a lot to be desired. The deputy chief minister placed a call to the Munger range deputy inspector-general (DIG) Sudhanshu Kumar to inquire about the case. The Telegraph heard the one-sided conversation.
Modi: A man has come to my durbar. He is a scientist working in Mumbai. His father, Baikunth Modi, has been kidnapped and even the FIR has been lodged in Jamui police station with case number 95/13. Are you aware of this case?
“Ok, do one thing, keep tabs on the case and track this person as soon as possible.”
Ending the call, Modi told Ajit the police were investigating the matter and assured him there was nothing to worry about. But that was hardly enough solace for the scared son, someone who used to request his father not to live in Bihar.
Passing out of Bhagalpur Engineering College in 2009, Ajit — an electrical engineer— left for Mumbai the same year. The youngest of three brothers, a teary-eyed Ajit told The Telegraph: “I told my father many times not to stay in Bihar. I tried to convince him that there was nothing over here and he must stay with us. I used to tell him that this state never changed and would not change.”
On the night of May 5, his fears came true.
“My father left home (at Navinagar village under Jamui block) to pray at a Shiva temple around 8 in the morning like every other day. The temple is at Panchvardan Dham, just 1.5km away from our home. Usually, he returns by 10am but that day, till 4 in the evening he didn’t. I was in Mumbai at that time and my mother Urmila Devi (53-year-old homemaker) called me to say my father had not yet returned. Around 8pm, she received a call from my dad’s cellphone in which the abductor demanded Rs 30 lakh for his release. The next day I boarded a flight from Mumbai and reached my home in the afternoon,” he said.
“I received another call on May 6 from the abductor, asking if we had arranged the ransom. I told them we could not arrange so much money but would give whatever we could for my father’s release. After the kidnapper disconnected the call, I lodged the FIR at Jamui police station. Since then we have not received any call from the kidnappers.”
Breaking down while telling The Telegraph about the family’s ordeal, he said: “My father has taken so much pain to complete the education of my siblings — two brothers and a sister. We do not want to lose him. My mother is not well and has already been hospitalised for two days. We are shattered and do not know what to do.”
Ajit’s elder brother Sanjeev Kumar (34) is a deputy general manager (electrical) with NTPC, Barh. Younger brother Ranjeet Kumar (30) is preparing for civil services exam in Delhi, while sister Padma is an assistant engineer with Bihar State Power (Holding) Company.
The whole family is now at Navinagar, praying for Baikunth’s safe release. “Do you think my father will come back, is there any hope?” Ajit asked The Telegraph.
Asked what action was being taken in the case, deputy chief minister Modi told The Telegraph: “Raids are going on at several places and police is aware about the case. I have also spoken to the Munger range DIG and have instructed him to take fast action in this case.”
Munger DIG Kumar later told The Telegraph: “I will request you to speak to the Jamui superintendent of police (SP). He can give you the details.”
Jamui SP Deepak Barnwal said: “We have arrested three kidnappers and also found the car in which Baikunth Modi was taken away. But we have not yet found Modi. Our investigation is .on and we will be able to crack the case soon.”
Ajit, however, vowed: “This incident has shaken my conscience and once he (Modi) comes back, I will never allow my father to stay here.”