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Ransom call for missing student

The Class VI student of St Xavier’s School, Bokaro, who went missing from tuition on November 26, is feared kidnapped, police said on Monday after a close kin of 11-year-old Sudhanshu Kumar reported ransom calls since Sunday for his release.

Bokaro police said the calls had been traced to Patna commissionerate and two teams — led by the officer-in-charge of steel city’s Sector IV police station — had been rushed to the neighbouring state. He refused to divulge the amount of ransom demanded within 72 hours and also remained tight-lipped on who was receiving the calls for the sake of investigations.

“I will request you to maintain patience as police are very close to cracking the case. Anymore information given out at this stage can be risky for the boy,” SP Kuldip Dwivedi Dwivedi said, adding that they hoped to have “good news” by Tuesday.

Patna city SP Jayant Kant said they were offering assistance to Bokaro police. “One of the shelters of the suspected kidnapper is Hajipur, 25km north of Patna,” he said. Sources said the ransom calls too had been made from Hajipur.

Sudhanshu, the son of senior Bihar bureaucrat Amlesh Kumar Singh, stayed in Sector IV-C with his uncle Mani P. Singh, who is an administrative official at the Bokaro DIG’s office, for his studies.

Speaking to The Telegraph on Monday, Mani Singh said Sudhanshu’s safety was his primary concern. He, however, expressed his fears that someone close to the family might have kidnapped his nephew.

Last Tuesday, the boy had left home around 4.30pm for tuition and that was when his aunt last saw him. He did not return even late in the evening. His uncle searched for him for 24 hours and then informed Amlesh Singh. The panic-stricken father reached the steel city from Rohtas on November 27 and lodged a police complaint.

Initially, it was not clear whether Sudhanshu had been kidnapped or he was a runaway because the family had not received any ransom calls. Uncle Mani had even expressed concerns over the boy being humiliated in school for being weak in studies, an allegation St Xavier’s had strongly denied.

However, on Sunday, police were informed that a close kin of Sudhanshu had received the first ransom call. The calls poured in frequently thereafter. “We have tracked the calls. We also realised that the kidnappers were changing their locations frequently,” the SP said, seeking 48 hours to crack the case.