The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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9-year-old takes police for two-day kidnap ride

Lucknow, Dec. 9: A nine-year-old Lucknow boy has led the police on a wild goose chase after he reported his kidnapping.

After two days of chasing kidnappers who never existed, the police learnt that Abhinay Rastogi is a “perennial liar”.

Hazratganj police were so taken in by Abhinay’s abduction story that they raided dozens of places he pointed out. They hunted for the kidnappers while Abhinay was safely ensconced in the police station.

They finally traced his father, businessman Raj Kumar Rastogi, today. He spilled the beans. “The child is a perennial liar. He had earlier fooled the Government Railway Police in Lucknow and the police in Rae Bareli and Barabanki,” he said.

A police officer said Abhinay lived up to his name. “He kept us fooled for a few days. Half-a-dozen suspects were taken into custody for interrogation on the basis of his story,” he said.

The play began for the police when Abhinay, with tears rolling down his cheeks, told a constable how a few days ago he escaped from the clutches of three persons. The constable immediately took him to Hazratganj police station, where he identified two criminals in the rogues’ gallery as his abductors.

The two — who had been in police custody in another case — were brought in and interrogated. The police believed in their guilt because Abhinay said his kidnappers had mobile phones. Mobiles were recovered in a raid on the suspects’ hideout.

While the police roughed it out roughing up suspects, Abhinay had a gala time. He was served the food of his choice at the police station and taken to the Lucknow Mahotsava.

Curtains fell on the play when Abhinay, getting tired of “fooling the police”, tried to escape on Sunday night. He slipped out of the police station and ran into the constable who had brought him there. A few slaps broke the boy, who blurted out his address. “We are fed up with his tricks, but can’t do anything,” Abhinay’s apologetic father said.

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