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5 abductors arrested

Hazaribagh, Feb. 20: Abductors released the CCL employee and three others today, two days after they were taken hostage at gunpoint from Pundi colliery in Ramgarh, but soon landed in police net.

Superintendent of police, Ramgarh, Ranjit Prasad said police had been keeping close tabs on the relatives of the four hostages that led to the arrest of five abductors. Police also seized a pistol, five live cartridges and a hand grenade, apart from Rs 2.98 lakh.

Grade-III CCL employee Ganesh Bhuiyan, and B.K. Singh, Nand Kishore Gupta and Suresh Singh, all of whom work for local contractors, were abducted from a CCL weighing house in Kujju around midnight on February 18.

Though local people were pointing finger at Jharkhand Prastuti Committee, a splinter group of the CPI(Maoist), police focused on gangs active in the area. Mobile phone numbers of the relatives of the four hostages were also brought under surveillance that ultimately led to the breakthrough.

Police got their first lead when the abductors established contact with the hostages’ relatives for ransom. A relative of one of the hostages agreed to pay Rs 5 lakh ransom. The abductors asked him to bring the money to Urimari forest, some 38km from Pundi colliery, in the afternoon. As he was directed, the relative kept the bag containing the money near a tree and left the place.

“Police entered the forest after the abductors left with the money, but managed to nab five of them following a short chase. We were waiting for the safe release of the hostages. We also recovered Rs 2.98 lakh from them,” Prasad said.

The five criminals have been identified as Sonu Tirkey, Madan Munda, J.B. Minz, Mirgu Lakra — all from Ranchi —and Biga Paswan of Hazaribagh. They had received Rs 5 lakh but two of their aides from Palamau had taken away their shares.