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Gang picks up jeweller, dumps bike

- Cops fear abductors to flee to Nepal, seal border

A 35-year-old jeweller was allegedly abducted by a gang of armed criminals from Sitamarhi district, around 145km north of Patna, on Sunday evening.

Mukesh Kumar, the jeweller, was abducted around 7.30pm when he was returning home in Pakri village. His motorcycle was found abandoned on Izaharia-Pakri road late in the night. His family has not yet received any call from the abductors and sources said the victim did not have any enmity with anyone.

The victim has a jewellery shop in Sitamarhi town — Aryas Alankar — and was returning home on his motorcycle after closing the shop.

Eyewitnesses who reported the abduction to police said a group of six men travelling in a sports utility vehicle intercepted Mukesh near Izaharia village. They forced Mukesh to board the vehicle at gunpoint and escaped towards Sheohar district.

Mukesh’s cousin, Jitendar, who also has a shop in Sitamarhi town, was returning via the same route after the abduction. Spotting Mukesh’s motorcycle, he informed the victim’s father Gajadhar Sah.

Sah, also a jewellery shop owner, reached his native place in Pakri village and lodged a case with Riga police station.

Riga station house officer Rajesh Choudhary said the victim’s motorcycle was recovered from Izaharia-Pakri road late in the night. “It seems that the abductors were following Mukesh from Sitamarhi town. On finding him alone, they took him hostage and escaped towards Sheohar,” he said.

Sitamarhi superintendent of police P.K. Sinha visited the spot and issued necessary instructions to the local police officers. “Raids have been conducted on suspected hideouts of criminals operating in the area. The identity of the gang is yet to be ascertained,” he told The Telegraph.

Sinha said the victim’s family has not received any ransom call. “The family has no enmity with anyone. We are probing the case, apprehending it to be a case of abduction for ransom,” he said.

He added that the borders of the district have been sealed and an operation has been launched to rescue Mukesh. As the place is close to the India-Nepal border, the police are not ruling out the possibility of the abductors escaping to Nepal.

The abduction of the jeweller has scared the town’s trading community.

A jewellery shop owner said: “This is the second attack on the members of the trading community in the past two months.”

In December, Ajay Prasad and his relative, Shatrughan Prasad, were shot at and critically injured by a gang of armed criminals near Jankisthan area in the city. The police later claimed to have caught a few members of the gang involved in the attack.

Ravi Kumar, a government school teacher in Sitamarhi, said: “There has been a spurt in incidents of crime in the past year. The abduction of the jeweller has sent shockwaves among the residents of the town.”