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Cameras to cops' aid, again

REUNION: Zaid Mallick with his family members after being rescued by the police in Patna on Tuesday night. PTI

Patna: The closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed at important locations in the city once again came to the help of Patna police, who rescued 14-year-old Zaid Mallick less than 12 hours after his kidnap on Tuesday.

The cops got their first lead in the case from the footage of CCTV cameras installed in Patliputra Colony.

According to Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj, the first location of Zaid was pinpointed from Paliputra Colony where he was seen going to his school bus stop. After that, the boy vanished; no CCTV camera picked up his picture.

Maharaaj assigned the job of tracing Zaid to a team led by sub-inspector (SI) Manoj Kumar Rai. Manoj and his team members after going through the footage of CCTV cameras installed at various locations came to know that a white car without a number plate was seen moving from Patliputra Colony.

The car passed through Boring Road, Hartali Mor and Chitkohra bridge to enter the Gardanibagh area.

The police suspected Zaid may have been kidnapped in the car.

The next clue came through the mobile phone the kidnappers used to demand Rs 1.5 crore ransom from Zaid's father Arif Mallick. The cops came to know that the SIM card was purchased from a shop at NP Centre in New Dakbungalow roundabout.

The shop owner told the police that the number was issued in the name of a person whose Aadhaar number was registered in Jamui.

The police contacted the man, but he said that he had applied for the SIM card through his Aadhaar but the mobile phone service provider company didn't issue him the number.

After contacting the officials of the mobile phone service provider, the cops came to know that the SIM card was issued in the name of one Sunny.

Through Sunny, the police reached Shashi Ranjan, the alleged kingpin of the kidnapping gang. Shashi told the interrogators that he had kept Zaid at his (Shashi's) uncle's house at Gardanibagh area.

Patna assistant superintendent of police (ASP), operations, Rakesh Dubey, who was part of the team that rescued Zaid, said: "Based on CCTV footage we had information about a car without number plate entering Gardanibagh. From the information that Shashi gave, we were sure that the abductors had kept the boy in the Gardanibagh area."

The police have arrested Shashi, his employee Avinash Kumar, a multinational insurance firm manager Lokesh Bhanu, Zaid's neighbour Waqar Ashraf, and one Saurav.

Shashi, police sources said, had taken a loan of Rs 22 lakh that he was unable to repay, and hence he hatched a kidnap plan and informed Waqar.

Waqar knew Zaid's family was well-off and on Wednesday too had visited the boy's house several times.

CCTV footage also helped the Patna police rescue seven-year-old Saurabh Kumar within nine hours of his kidnap on January 29 this year.

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