| Jharkhand deputy chief minister Sudhir Mahto on his way to meet the family members of Vishwanath Garg, who was kidnapped a few days ago. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, July 21: The similarities are too glaring to miss. Four prominent businessmen from the steel city get kidnapped in the last four years. Each of them was alone in a car with driver.
Barring one, all of them were driven to Bihar by kidnappers. In each case, victims were released after a ransom was paid. And to top it all, in all these cases, kidnappers got away without ever getting identified.
Nexus between the underworld and men in uniform is the talking point here, in the wake of the abduction of Vishwanath Garg.
The businessman, his Tavera in which he was being driven home, and the driver have been missing since Tuesday this week. And even on Saturday, the police had no information or clue to share about the abduction.
Family members of some of the past victims blamed the unscientific investigation of the police. “Rather than depend on their own resources and technology, they seem to depend more on the underworld for information,” alleged one of them.
Others also endorsed the statement and stated that police took the help of rival gangs to “negotiate” the release of the victims.
In all the three earlier cases involving the abduction of Ajay Singh, Swetabh Suman and Krishna Bhalotia, police acted as a “middleman”, alleged one of the family members. “I know this because my relative too secured his release after negotiations held through policemen,” he recalled bitterly.
If he is to be believed, all that the policemen did was to negotiate the amount and the method of delivery.
Policemen took money from the abducted person’s family and spent at least a part of it, they claimed, on paying off rival gangs for information. “But if we thanked the police profusely, it was because their intervention did secure the release of the victims ‘early’,” explained the businessman.
Had the police not intervened and established contact, it might have taken more time and been far more agonising, they conceded.
One of the victims told The Telegraph that he had personally overheard a police officer negotiating his release. “I am convinced that the abduction racket is thriving because of the patronage criminals receive from police officers,” said the bitter man.
The family of Vishwanath Garg, he felt, had done the right thing by initiating negotiations on their own.
“I strongly feel the government should order an inquiry into the role of the police and make the report public,” he declared.