Calcutta, Feb. 8: The separated parents of Gunjan Ghosh, the mastermind behind the kidnapping of Roma Jhawar, were united by their son's crime, stashing away the ransom for safekeeping.
Today, Gunjan's mother Krishna Mitra, who stays in Baguiati, handed over a bundle of notes to police amounting to Rs 8.4 lakh. She said this was the money her son had asked her to keep after the kidnapping. She has been detained for questioning.
Gunjan's aunt had yesterday handed over a packet containing Rs 5.7 lakh to the police, telling them that his father Ashok Pradip Ghosh had given it to her to keep 'safely hidden somewhere'.
Ashok was arrested later in the day from his Salt Lake home for complicity in the kidnapping.
Five years ago, Gunjan's parents had separated.
With today's handing over, Rs 16.7 lakh of the ransom money, which Roma's family sources said was Rs 22.5 lakh, has been recovered. On Saturday, the police found Rs 2.6 lakh on Gunjan when he was arrested from Salt Lake. The rest of the money may either be hidden away or may already have been distributed to some of the members of the kidnap squad who are still absconding.
'Gunjan's parents have divorced and found other partners, but the kidnapping has brought them together before the law,' said a police officer. He indicated that like her former husband, Krishna may also be arrested later.
Officials said efforts were on to persuade Krishna to make a confessional statement before the court stating her son's role in the kidnapping. 'This is a carrot we are offering her to be let off lightly,' an officer said.
'If she nails her son, it will make the case against Gunjan that much more strong.'
The recovery of the money has also exposed the lies Gunjan had been telling the police after his arrest. He had told them that Arvind Bhai, who was the chief executor of the crime and is still absconding, had escaped with Rs 10 lakh of the ransom.
'This was a ploy,' an official said. 'Gunjan is a deceitful person. Like his image of a regular guy had fooled his neighbours, he might have been planning to double-cross his co-conspirators, hogging all the money once he was out of jail. This became clear during his interrogation today.'
Roma was abducted last Friday and found a day later.