The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Car found, not its owner

Jamshedpur, April 13: Even 48 hours after he disappeared with his driver, there is still no trace of Jamshedpur-based industrialist Ajay Singh, believed to be a close associate of the chief minister.

Police, however, recovered his Ford Ikon, which had been abandoned at Tamar on the Jamshedpur-Ranchi highway after it apparently stalled on Monday afternoon.

East Singhbhum police detained the owner of a flour mill, Santosh Gupta, who claimed that the car stopped near his flour-mill and the occupants, two men, asked him to look after the car and left in search of a mechanic. But they never returned. Not convinced, police are inquiring how a new-generation car could suddenly stall on the highway. During the interrogation, however, Gupta is learnt to have told the police that he was intimidated by the red beacon light on the car and had not, therefore, reported the matter to the police.

The chief minister's wife, Meera Munda, also spotted the car while driving from Ranchi to Jamshedpur today and stopped to scrutinise it closely. By then local residents, who found the doors open, had taken out the owner-book etc. and called up the industrialist's son to report that a black Ford Ikon (JH 05F 6300) had been abandoned in Tamar.

Police continue to be clueless in the absence of any ransom call. If the industrialist was actually kidnapped, feel police officers, it was an audacious operation carried out in broad daylight and by veterans. Gupta, the flour mill owner, failed to identify the industrialist from photographs shown to him and this has led the police to conclude that the occupants could be driving the car to Ranchi to drop a false clue. Recovery of an unidentified dead body, wrapped in a gunny bag and thrown out from a speeding Ambassador car near Hanjet village, around 30 km from Tamar, fuelled speculation. But the police claimed that the body was that of a middle-aged man in a blue shirt and remains unidentified.

The police claim to have tracked the last call made by the industrialist from his cell phone. It was made to a lady, a former employee, residing in Ghorabandha. 'We have quizzed the lady but nothing unusual came out of it,' claimed the police.

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