The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gang & cash in kidnap net
- Eight suspects held with over Rs 2 lakh

Calcutta, Feb. 6: Investigators tracked down eight persons linked to Roma Jhawar's abduction as the special task force zeroed in on the gang, a day after the college girl returned to her Salt Lake home unharmed.

Police said Roma identified four of the arrested as those who had blocked the car she was travelling in and dragged her out at gunpoint, barely 50 metres from her house, on Friday.

They have been identified as Gunjan Bose, Bikash, Pappu and Munna.

The sleuths seized Rs 260,000 and a few mobile phones from the youths. Two Maruti Omnis ' one off-white and the other red ' which they used to shuttle from one hideout to another, have also been impounded, inspector-general of police (law and order) Chayan Mukherjee said.

'Now our hunt is on to track down two others, one of them very close to the Jhawar family,' said a CID official.

None of Roma's friends is among those arrested, the police said and ruled out any complicity on her part. The four who had been detained were released after the police realised they were innocent. They were picked up as the abductors contacted one of them and asked him to convey a message to Roma's family.

The police maintained that no money changed hands. 'We have no information about payment of ransom. Asked about the money (found on the youths), none of the arrested youths could give us a satisfactory answer. They will have to explain how they got this money,' Mukherjee said.

CID officials questioned Roma and corroborated her statements with those of the accused. She then identified the four. 'Identifying them was not a problem because her eyes were not covered and she even saw where the abductors had taken her,' Mukherjee said. 'We are looking for some more persons.'

Investigators have found that two of those arrested have a criminal background. 'The mastermind, who is on the run, has no criminal antecedent. It is clear that those who do not have any criminal background carried out the operation by engaging professional gangsters. We have sent officers out of the city to trace a key person who played an important role,' an official said.

One of the abductors, the official added, made the 'mistake' of using Roma's cellphone to call another gangster. 'After getting the new number, we traced out its location. First, Gunjan was picked up from the Baguihati area and after interrogating him, we arrested Bikash, Pappu and Munna from Kankurgachhi.' Two of those arrested are from Digha and are said to have played a 'peripheral role'.

'But the arms used in the operation are yet to be found,' the official said. Mukherjee said Roma told the police she was taken to Shyambazar, BT Road and to Howrah via Bally Bridge. The abductors then brought her to Phoolbagan where they stayed for some time.

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