| SSP Manu Maharaj with arrested Prakash Gupta. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
A youth was rescued from the Naxalite-hit Munger district after being kidnapped from Patna by his uncle, who has links with the rebels.
Suraj Kumar, 17, is a student of Akash Institute on Frazer Road under the jurisdiction of the Gandhi Maidan police station and lived alone at a private lodge in the Buddha Colony area.
On August 8, Prakash Gupta, his mother’s stepbrother, picked him up from in front of the institute to take him to Bhagalpur. Gupta, however, took Suraj to the forest of Munger, around 225km east of Patna, where he was held by the rebels. His abductors demanded Rs 60 lakh from his family.
Suraj’s father, Ajay Kumar Sao, is a businessman in Khagaria district. “Suraj’s uncle (Gupta), who has been arrested, has links with the rebels. He, along with a few others, had hatched the abduction plan so that they could extract money from Suraj’s family to buy firearms,” said Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaj on Thursday.
The police are looking for two others — Gautam Kumar, a CRPF jawan who deserted his battalion, and Dinesh Yadav. Suraj said he had just come out of the institute on August 8 when Gupta met him. “He said he had made plans to go to Sultanganj in Bhagalpur district to take a dip in the Ganga. We started off immediately on a motorbike. Two others accompanied us. My uncle said they were his friends.”
An officer of the rescue team said: “Surajwas taken directly to Jamui district. Gupta’s home is at Laguna village. Gautam took Suraj’s cellphone and left with Dinesh. Suraj was told he would be given a new phone. ”
SSP Maharaj said: “His family started to get ransom calls from his cellphone on August 10.” They lodged an FIR at Gandhi Maidan police station on August 11. Tracking the cellphone towers, the police found out that calls were being made from Bengal. “Gautam and Dinesh had gone to Bengal to fox the police,” said Maharaj. The police raided the Pahari area under the jurisdiction of Tatiya Bamber police station and rescued Suraj. Gupta was arrested while the others managed to escape. Suraj was brought to Patna on Thursday.