Two of the alleged abductors, Puranjoy Das (left) and Sudip Bose, outside a court in Malda on Friday. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, Feb. 14: A Class VIII boy had been abducted to demand a ransom of Rs 10 lakh and was strangled to death allegedly by three seniors in his school and two college students in Malda’s Bamongola.
Tapas Haldar, son of a fish merchant, had been abducted on February 11 and killed the same day by the kidnappers who feared that his release would lead to their arrest. Two students were arrested when they came to collect the ransom yesterday and the other three were picked up later.
The decomposed body of Tapas was recovered from a deserted area in Haldarpara last night.
Of the five arrested, two study in Class X and one in Class XII. The other two, Puranjoy Das, 21, and Sudip Bose, 20, are first year students of Pakuahat College. The duo were remanded in police custody for five days by the chief judicial magistrate’s court here today. The three school students are minors and will be produced in a juvenile court tomorrow.
The kidnappers had made ransom calls to Tapas’s father, Madhai Haldar, after the murder. Madhai, a resident of Haldarpara, near Bamongola, said his family had gone to Balasahapur in Old Malda for a relative’s wedding on February 11. “After the feast, I took my son to the local bus stand and he boarded a bus to return home. Later, we came to know that Tapas did not reach home. On February 12, I filed a missing diary with police in Bamongola,” the father said today.
On the same day, a few hours after Madhai had filed the complaint, he received a phone call.
“The caller told me that my son had been abducted and I would have to pay Rs 10 lakh for Tapas’s release. I approached the police who asked me to keep talking to the abductors over the phone. The kidnappers first told me to carry the cash to a place in Pakuahat yesterday. As instructed by the police, I kept some white sheets in envelopes so that they looked like cash and carried them to Pakuahat. However, nobody came to collect the money and again, I was asked over the phone to go to Habibpur with the amount. After reaching Habibpur, I was told to go to the bank of the Tangan river in Kenpukur,” said Madhai.
Wherever the trader went with the “cash”, policemen were following him in disguise to catch the abductors. “The callers had never said my son would be reunited with me when I delivered the ransom to them. They said Tapas would be freed after the amount was given,” said Madhai.
In Kenpukur, Madhai dropped the envelopes in a deserted area yesterday and hid in a bush nearby. Soon, two of the five boys arrived and were caught by the police who were also hiding in a bush.
Based on the information given by the Class X students, the other three students were also arrested. “All the five admitted that they had abducted Tapas and killed him the same day. They took us to a deserted area in Haldarpara where the body was found in a gunny bag,” said Kalyan Mukherjee, the superintendent of police, Malda.
Bamongola is 55km from here. The police didn’t disclose how Tapas had been kidnapped and his body disposed.
The sources said the Class XII student is an immediate neighbour of Tapas and had hatched the plot.
“Tapas had been strangled to death by the Class XII boy who feared that the kidnappers would be identified if he was released. This student came to know that Madhai had a bank deposit of Rs 10 lakh and hatched the plot. He lured the other four by promising them a handsome share of the money. The Class XII boy is known to be an addict of crime soaps on television,” said a police source.