Calcutta, Dec. 31: In an operation involving Bengal, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh police, two senior Central officials who were abducted by a gang from Bihar were rescued last night.
Acting on a tip-off from the state’s Criminal Investigation Department, the police in Bilaspur and Rourkela launched a commando operation to free the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (Rites) officials, Col. Ghansi Ram and S.J. Pawar.
Armed with information provided by the CID following interrogation of Umesh Singh — the man whose gang allegedly kidnapped Exide chief Satyabrata Ganguly and masterminded several others, including that of the Rites officials — the police zeroed in on a two-storeyed house at Chain Mohalla in downtown Rourkela.
Ram, an additional general manager with Rites and Pawar, the chief engineer, were both posted in Bilaspur.
“Our officers found Ram and Pawar crouched in the corner of a room with their hands and feet tied with nylon rope,’’ said Ashok Juneja, the Bilaspur superintendent of police.
Four members of the gang guarding the victims fled when the police launched the final phase of the rescue mission, said Juneja. Police have recovered a Bolero, which was being used by the kidnappers.
The police are looking into the authenticity of the vehicle’s papers. On December 14, Ram and Pawar were driving from Gorella to Kota in an Indica when Umesh Singh, Joginder Singh and four others waylaid them at Achanak Mar, inside a reserve forest area.
The criminals injected a heavy dose of sedatives to the driver and shoved him out of the vehicle near Sohala on the Orissa-Chhattisgarh border.
The abductors then drove to Rourkela with Ram and Pawar and put them in the house there. Sahoo, who was driving the Indica, told the police about the abduction the next day.
The Bilaspur police had sent their sleuths to Calcutta and Durgapur but failed to get specific leads on the whereabouts of the victims and the kidnappers.
The Bengal CID was the first to hit upon information on the whereabouts of Ram and Pawar.
Working on several possibilities over the past few months, the CID snared Umesh from his Patna hideout on December 18.
Apart from the Exide chief, city businessman Sajjan Agarwal was also among Umesh’s prize catches.
Additional director-general of police S.I.S. Ahmed said during the course of intense interrogation, Umesh revealed that his associate, Joginder, had kidnapped Ram and Pawar from Kota in Bilaspur.
“Singh said they had kept the officials in a house at Chain Mohalla and five criminals were waiting for instructions there,’’ Ahmed said.
“We immediately informed the police in Bilaspur and Rourkela about the developments,’’ said Ahmed.
“We had first drawn rough sketches of the suspects with the help of descriptions provided by the employees of a hotel in Kota, where they had stayed. The kidnappers made the first call to Pawar’s Satara residence on December 18 morning, demanding Rs 40 lakh for their release,’’ Juneja said.
The CID and the Bilaspur police said they have evidence that Joginder is now in Morana and his associate, Mohan Rao, has fled to Nepal.