Nov. 10: Criminals from Bihar are behind the recent kidnappings in the Durgapur belt but police here are not being able to round them up due to non-cooperation from their counterparts in the neighbouring state, Burdwan superintendent of police B.N. Ramesh said.
Ramesh convened a special meeting today to review the progress of investigations involving kidnapping cases, in some of which the victims paid a handsome ransom for release.
Shivkumar Agarwal, a businessman, and Sunil Singh, a 16-year-old son of a transporter, were recently kidnapped from Durgapur. CID officials claimed to have specific information that Singh had joined hands with his abductors and was part of the gang that extorted money and looted businessmen in Bihar.
However, Sunil’s father R.P. Singh denied the charge that his son was hand-in-glove with the kidnappers and was involved in other crimes as well.
“In mid September, I received a call from unknown persons demanding Rs 7 lakh for Sunil’s release. The abductors asked me to keep the money in a bag and drop it near the railway tracks at Santaldihi in Purulia. I did it accordingly not to risk my son’s life,’’ he recounted.
Ramesh said they have “evidence to suggest’’ that Agarwal is in Jharkhand. “We are helpless as criminals from Dhanbad and adjoining areas are abducting businessmen and going back before we get an inkling.”
The CID said they have information that Singh had visited Calcutta with some other members of the group to threaten businessmen in Howrah.
However, Dhanbad superintendent of police M.L. Meena quashed the charges. His department is co-ordinating with the CID on the investigations, he said. “We are certain that Agarwal is not being held in Dhanbad. I am in touch with the special superintendent of CID, Manoj Malaviya,’’ Meena said.
Sources said the Dhanbad police are blaming their Burdwan counterparts for absence of “patrolling near the Bengal-Bihar border, on the national highways and other link roads”. This, they say, are giving the gangsters a free run.
According to the Dhanbad police, the forces here initially suspected that Rajen Tiwari and his henchman Jiten Tiwari were behind the kidnappings. But both are in jail. “The Tiwari gang is scattered and it is not possible for them to re-group and operate in Durgapur now,” sources in Dhanbad said.
“The kidnappings could be the handiwork of the Sambhu Singh group. But he mostly operates from central Bihar,’’ a senior Dhanbad police officer said.
Detectives said they had information that several of the kidnapped businessmen were taken to hideouts in Jamui, Gaya, Lakhisarai, and Rohotas in central Bihar from where the ransom amounts were negotiated.