Patna, Dec. 19: The state government today ordered a probe into the release of a Gujarat-based industrialist’s kidnapped son in Saran after payment of huge ransom and the alleged involvement of a high-profile politician in the case.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar said he had asked the director-general of police, Abhayanand, to inquire into the controversial incident. “I had asked the DGP to keep a close watch on the case and remain in touch with the Daman police after the report of the businessman’s kidnapped son’s release in Saran district appeared in dailies,” he said.
Sohail Hingora (22), son of Surat’s prominent businessman Hanif Hingora, was abducted from Dharampur village in Daman on October 29. He was released after his family allegedly paid Rs 9 crore as ransom to the abductors.
An FIR was lodged today with the Nayagaon police station in Saran district in connection with the kidnapping of Sohail. Ranjit Singh, who was arrested earlier on the charge of providing shelter to the abductors has been made accused under sections 364 (a) (kidnapping for ransom), 120 (B) (conspiracy) and 212 (harbouring offender) of the IPC.
Making this revelation, additional director-general (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar said the case (no.111/13) would be probed by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Additional director-general (CID) Abhay Kumar Upadhyay has been asked to monitor the investigation. The officials of the special task force and the economic offences unit would assist the CID team in the investigation of the case, lapped up by the Opposition to criticise Nitish on the alleged deteriorating law and order situation in the state in the recent past.
Nitish today told reporters that the state police were informed about the incident only after the release of the victim, Sohail. Yet, a person was arrested and the police gathered evidence, he said, adding that he had asked the state police chief to conduct an in-depth investigation.
He said action would be initiated against the culprits on the basis of evidence. “The accusations by the victim’s father are being verified. The culprits, whosoever they may be, would not be spared and the long arm of the law would finally catch them,” he said.
The chief minister’s remarks came after several Opposition leaders raised hue and cry over the involvement of a high-profile politician of the state in the kidnapping. Former deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi strongly condemned the incident and sought a fair probe. He also demanded the government to disclose the name of the politician in question.
Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Rakesh Kumar Pappu Singh said the involvement of a state-based gang in the kidnapping of the Surat-based industrialist’s son had exposed the tall claims of the Nitish government’s sushashan (good governance).
Earlier, Hanif, the Surat-based businessman, had alleged that politicians, police officers and a professional gang from Bihar were behind the kidnapping of his son from a place near his industrial unit in Daman on October 29. “The police officers from Bihar, along with a professional gang, had kidnapped my son. We have also come to know that some politicians from Bihar were involved,” he told The Telegraph over phone.
Hanif said the family received the ransom call from the abductors after 10 days of the kidnapping. The abductors allegedly told him that his son was safe in their custody.
“They kept on calling us from different cellphone numbers from Punjab, Maharashtra and other big cities, demanding ransom for Sohail’s safe release,” he said.
On November 22, the kidnappers called Hanif and asked him to deliver the ransom amount in person in Patna. Accordingly, Hanif came here. On November 25, he spoke to his son over phone for a minute and delivered the money.
On November 30, the kidnappers called on his phone and informed him that Sohail would be released near a petrol pump on the Hajipur-Chhapra main road. The father-son duo returned home on the night of November 30.
The next day, Hanif informed the Daman police about his son’s release. Sohail, the businessman’s son, reportedly told the cops there that he was kept in a room in a village and was guarded by some people who looked like policemen.
The state police officers are baffled over the payment of Rs 9 crore to the alleged abductors in cash, the highest ever ransom money paid to any professional gang of kidnappers in the state. “It is quite surprising to know that the ransom money was brought to Bihar in private vehicles and subsequently paid to the alleged abductors,” said Ravinder, the additional director-general of police (headquarters).
He said it was equally baffling that the vehicles carrying such huge cash crossed the borders of at least three states without any hindrance and reached Patna.
“The state police’s special task force was pressed into service soon after receiving information from the Daman counterparts on the case,” he said, asserting that it was equally important for the state police to ascertain the identity of the gang and nail its members.