A man who runs a job placement agency in north Kolkata was allegedly kidnapped by a group of men who had apparently paid him for jobs but did not get any, police said.
Siddhartha Banerjee, 38, a resident of Sinthi, was allegedly whisked away in a Toyota Innova from Kali Charan Ghosh Road on Thursday evening by a group of men.
Later, his family received a call demanding a ransom of Rs 10 lakh for his release.
The family reported the matter to Sinthi police station on Thursday evening.
“From the tower location of the victim’s cellphone, we found he was taken towards Murshidabad. We immediately alerted our counterparts in the district, who intercepted the Toyota Innova at Beldanga,” said an officer in Kolkata police.
However, on searching the car, the police found that Banerjee had been shifted into another car. Some of the alleged kidnappers who were still in the car were arrested.
On pursuing the statement of the arrested, a team from Kolkata police fanned out across Hariharpara — around 38km from Beldanga — in Murshidabad, looking for Banerjee.
He was rescued late on Thursday, within a few hours of being kidnapped, the police said. Eight persons have been arrested and the two vehicles that were allegedly used for the kidnapping have been seized.
A senior police officer involved in the probe said abducting someone was a wrong approach even if someone had been cheated.
“Even if someone is cheated that does not mean that the victim would take the law into his or her own hands. In this case, the persons who are claiming that they have been cheated should have reported the matter to the police. By kidnapping the person, they themselves have committed a crime, which will attract serious penal action,” said the officer.
The accused eight have been booked under IPC sections related to kidnapping with death threat, extortion and common intention. If convicted, they could be jailed for life.
The pandemic has left hundreds of people jobless, forcing many of them to enrol with job agencies, without verifying their credentials. The police said there were a number of complaints against fake placement agencies that have duped people taking advantage of their helplessness during the pandemic.
The police said they had not received any complaint of cheating against Banerjee till Friday and would start a parallel case if there is a formal complaint.