The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Regular guy to kidnap key

Gunjan Ghosh was a regular guy ' dropping children from the Salt Lake neighbourhood to school in his car-on-hire by day and spending time at home with his wife and father in the evening.

The last thing the neighbours thought the 22-year-old with a certain boyish charm was capable of was masterminding the abduction of a 20-year-old girl.

But if police are to be believed, that's precisely what Gunjan did last Friday. The victim: Roma Jhawar.

Residents of KC block ' where Gunjan grew up before shifting to Baguiati five years ago and then returned after marriage some five months ago ' remember him as 'an innocent young man'.

Police, however, sketch the portrait of a scheming youth who may have even got away with murder before the abduction of Roma.

While confirming that Gunjan did not have a criminal record, cops on the case are also linking him to the July 2004 murder of taxi driver Biswajit Dey, in Narkeldanga.

Gunjan was the last man to have been spotted with Dey not long before the driver's body was found, with a bullet through the chest.

'We couldn't make the charge stick then because of lack of evidence against Gunjan,' said deputy commissioner of the detective department Peeyush Pandey.

On Monday, a stunned neighbour of Gunjan's in KC block said: 'He appeared to be such a nice boy. Even when police came to arrest him on Sunday, he smiled at them innocently and for a moment, they wondered whether they had come to the right house' Who would know that a diabolical mind was lurking behind such an innocent appearance'

Gunjan had grown up in Salt Lake's KC block and lived there till his parents separated five years ago. The divorce was bitter and, neighbours say, Gunjan was 'shattered'.

He then moved to Baguiati with his mother and completed his Higher Secondary. Soon, he was back in Salt Lake, not to live there, but to earn a living.

After quitting studies, Gunjan decided to hire a car and ferry children in and around Salt Lake to and from school. Somewhere down the line ' nobody is clear about the where, when or how ' Gunjan set his sights on Roma Jhawar and started 'tracking' her.

About six months ago, Gunjan decided to settle down. He got married to Rumela and returned to live with his father in KC block.

'Gunjan knew Roma for at least a few months,' Rumela admitted on Monday. 'I have no idea what kind of a relationship they shared.'

Police and the Jhawars are, apparently, turning a blind eye to this angle and putting down Friday's crime as 'just an act of abduction for ransom'. Gunjan and Roma, they insist, did not know each other.

Police say Gunjan had been plotting his 'get-rich-quick' path for quite a while. 'All of Gunjan's criminal contacts have come from the garage and drivers' circuit, with which he was familiar, given the nature of his business,' said an officer. 'Most of the suspects we have picked up in connection with the kidnapping are from that network,' he added.

Police say the abduction is a confirmation of Gunjan's greed getting the better of him.

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