| Tahira in the arms of senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj on Wednesday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Rajkumar, the driver of retired IAS officer Waseemuddin Anjum whose granddaughter Tahira was kidnapped, had called his employer on Tuesday informing about he being abducted with the toddler.
The 45-year-old driver is being interrogated after he was arrested on Wednesday. The one-and-a-half-year old, too, was recovered on the same day. Three men, who had assisted Rajkumar, are absconding.
What is worrying according to Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj is the fact that even after such kidnapping incidents, most residents were wary about police verification of drivers and domestic helps.
“Despite several requests, most people don’t get their drivers or domestic helps’ background verified by the police. It seems people don’t learn from their mistakes. We have a system where household employees and drivers’ credentials can be verified. But no one does it,” the SSP said.
This year, the police cracked two kidnapping cases both involving drivers.
On February 7, Shivam Khandelwal (14), the son of a businessman, went missing as he started from his house in his car with the family driver. With the help of closed-circuit television cameras and other technology, the police were able to trace Shivam. He was recovered the following day from Dhanpura village in Ara. Girish, the driver, was arrested with his wife earlier this week. Shivam’s father, a month back without any verification, had hired him.
The Tahira case, however, was different because Rajkumar had been working for the Anjums for the past two years.
“The man turned rogue because he needed money for his daughter’s wedding. Rajkumar left with Tahira in an SUV and went into hiding at Shivpur village in Fatuha with his three accomplices. He had called Anjum to say that he and Tahira had been abducted and enacted as if someone was beating him up. A ransom was demanded and the family agreed to pay. They sent a text message to Rajkumar agreeing to his demand. But we came to know about it. Had there been a driver verification done, our job would have been faster. People should realise this,” the SSP said.
Technology played an important role in the arrest of Rajkumar.
“The silver lining was that Rajkumar’s cellphone was not switched off. He was constantly giving missed calls to Anjum asking for ransom. We were tracking the cellphone tower locations. For the first time, we used GPS tracking. While three of them were successful in escaping, the villagers helped us nab Rajkumar, who was badly thrashed by the locals. He could have been lynched but he was saved,” another police officer said.
When The Telegraph spoke to people about the verification service of the police, many questioned the need for it.
“My driver has been working for me for the past six months. It was one of my friends who had recommended him and he has been working since then. I don’t think there is a need to do a background check because I trust my friend and his recommendation. I have heard about the kidnapping cases but I don’t need to do a background check of my driver. I have his contact details and address,” said Boring Road resident Vikram Kumar Singh.