Hazaribagh/Dhanbad, Oct. 19: Triumph and tragedy marked Tuesday. Police in Hazaribagh were triumphant because they managed to rescue a hostage, recover a cache of arms and arrest as many as 11 criminals, all in the course of the day and during routine checking of vehicles.
Among those arrested were two teenagers barely out of school while in Bermo, police were led to the body of an undergraduate college student, who had been blackmailed, kidnapped and killed by his own friends, all students from the same college.
A medical student, kidnapped from Burdwan (West Bengal), was rescued near Barhi after he raised an alarm. The abductors had stopped to have food when the student screamed for help. They immediately drove away with the student but the police managed to intercept them. The student, Praveen Kumar, from Muzaffarpur (Bihar) had been kidnapped, confessed the abductors, to settle scores with his father.
Hazaribagh superintendent of police Ashish Batra identified the abductors as Dileep Kumar (Khagaria), Yogendra Prasad (Hajipur) and Narendra Kumar. The abductors claimed that the boy's family had failed to repay a loan and that's why he was being kidnapped so that the loan amount could be recovered by way of ransom.
At Bhurkunda, the police claimed to have busted a gang of road robbers and claimed that among the arrested teenagers was one who is still in school while the other was described by the police as 'a topper in matric'. The police team also recovered bombs, guns and bullets.
While the kingpin of the road robbers was identified as one Rajendra Ganjhu from UP, Batra claimed that investigations revealed that matric student Lalan Kumar was the one who marshalled the men and resources besides executing the plan. Another teenager, Tarkeshwar, he said, had stood 'first in the matric examination'. All the arrested had confessed to dozens of road robberies committed around Barkakana and Bhurkunda.
At Bermo, meanwhile, the police recovered the body of Vikas, an undergraduate student of KB College, from the backyard of a school. The only son of Suresh Nayak had apparently been killed by three of his friends.
Briefing reporters, Bokaro SP Anil Palta said the college student had been missing since Sunday and was last seen in the company of three of his closest friends, Gopal, Meghlal and Surendra. Two of them broke down following sustained interrogation by the police and confessed to the crime. They also led the police to the place where they had hidden the body.
The four students, police claimed, had been thick as thieves. The 'friends' confessed that one of them, Surendra, was intimate with a woman and hatched the plan to get her to seduce Vikas as well. It would then become easy, he reckoned, to blackmail Vikas and fleece him.
Vikas apparently got to learn about the scheme and started avoiding them. The trio then invited him to sort out the mess, kidnapped him and called up his family to demand a ransom of Rs 20 lakh.
Palta felt that the ransom call was made after they had killed the boy. Others speculate that the boy was killed when the police were informed and the family refused to be blackmailed.