| Manish Kumar |
A special police team has been set up to find finance minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav’s grandson missing from Supaul district since July 1.
Manish Kumar, the 11-year-old son of Bijendra’s daughter Geeta Devi, was cycling to his school hostel, around 3.5km from his home, last Tuesday when he was feared kidnapped. The family reported the matter on July 4. Land dispute could be reason behind the kidnapping although the family has not yet received any ransom call.
Manish is a Class VII student at a public school in Supaul, around 270km northeast of Patna.
Director-general of police (DGP) P.K. Thakur, along with chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, reviewed the progress in the case on Monday. The special police team was set up on Monday too.
Additional director-general (headquarters) Gupteshwar Pandey said: “The superintendents of police of the neighbouring districts have been asked to cooperate with Supaul police. DGP Thakur is monitoring the investigation.”
Supaul superintendent of police (SP) Sudhir Kumar Podika said the family searched for the boy for three days before reporting the matter to Bishunpur police.
He added that a kidnapping case has been lodged at Bishunpur police station based on the statement of Manish’s father, Parmeshwar Yadav. He feared Manish was kidnapped while he was going to the hostel attached to the school in Pipra block, around 253km northeast of Patna.
Parmeshwar is a teacher at a local degree college in Supaul, while Manish’s mother Geeta Devi is a homemaker. Parmeshwar told the police that Manish had come home in Bilaukhara village on June 20 when his school closed for summer vacation.
Around 10am on July 1, he left for his hostel, around 3.5km away, on his bicycle. When the family called the school to know if he had reached, the hostel in-charge told them Manish did not reach the school or the hostel.
A close relative, who spoke to an eyewitness, told the police that Manish had stopped for a while at Telwadhar village on way to the school because of a heavy downpour in the area.
Sulekha Devi, the eyewitness, told the family that she had spotted the boy being forcibly taken away by a middle-aged man, who claimed to be his uncle. “The suspected kidnapper abused me when I intervened and sought to know his identity,” she told the relative.
Supaul SP Podika said raids have been launched on the suspected hideouts of kidnappers. “The family has not yet received any ransom call. Even the bicycle belonging to the victim, also called Guddu, has not been recovered.”
In the past couple of years, there has been a rise in kidnapping cases in Bihar. A total of 5,506 kidnapping cases were reported in 2013. Till May this year, 2,399 kidnapping cases have been reported in Bihar. Twenty-two of them had been for ransom. Last year, 70 kidnapping for ransom cases were lodged with various police stations.
Finance minister Bijendra told reporters in Patna on Monday that the abductors had not contacted the family for ransom. “Manish, the son of my daughter Geeta, was recently enrolled to a Parsa-based public school. He was staying in the hotel attached to the school. I have spoken to the superintendent of police and other senior police officers about developments in the case.”
Supaul deputy superintendent of police Ashok Kumar said: “The family should have immediately informed the police that the boy had gone missing. The delay has made the task difficult for the police.”
On Monday, deputy inspector-general (Kosi range) Ajitabh Kumar said: “We have recorded the statement of the boy’s parents, director and students of the school besides a few others. We hope to recover the boy safely.”
An officer, associated with the investigation, said land dispute could be a reason behind the kidnapping.