Man bluffing about having a coin from 1830 kidnapped, held captive
A man from Sonarpur who had allegedly been bluffing about having a coin from 1830 that was worth crores of rupees was kidnapped and held captive in a flat in Bansdroni for three days, police said.
It was only after the gang was arrested and the 32-year-old victim — identified as “Pankaj, alias Akash Sardar” — rescued that it came to be known that the coin did not exist, the police said.
Five men — including prime accused Sheetal Agarwal and Shahnawaz Mollah, the owner of the Bansdroni flat — have been arrested.
The police said a ransom of Rs 20 lakh was to be handed to the kidnappers at Surya Sen Metro station on Tuesday evening.
The victim’s sister went to the spot with a bag pretending to be carrying cash. As kidnappers approached her, cops in plainclothes arrested two men. The victim, who the gang had kept hidden in a Toyota Innova parked outside the station, was rescued.
The police said they received a complaint on Tuesday afternoon that the man had been kidnapped two days ago.
“We received a complaint saying a man named Pankaj, alias Akash Sardar, 32, who lives in Sonarpur and deals in antique goods, had been kidnapped two days ago by a man he knew,” said an officer of Sonarpur police station.
The family had named Sheetal Agarwal, who lives in Mominpur and deals in antique goods, as an accused. Agarwal, the complainant said, was last seen with Sardar.
Agarwal had apparently asked Sardar to meet him at a spot in Sonarpur, from where the victim was driven to Bansdroni. Sardar later told the police that since he knew Agarwal, he did not realise that he was being kidnapped.
“We have come to know after a preliminary investigation that Agarwal and his associates had held Sardar captive for a coin from 1830,” an officer said.
“Sardar had told Agarwal that the coin, which he said needed to be kept in a jar of grease and should not come
in contact with light, was worth crores of rupees. He had been telling friends that the coin had chemical properties that could cause short-circuits in electrical appliances nearby if it came in contact with light.”
After the abduction, the alleged kidnappers demanded the coin or Rs 20 lakh from Sardar’s family. The ransom was to be handed to them on Tuesday in front of Surya Sen Metro station.
Sources said that as advised by the police, Sardar's sister went to the spot with a bag in her hand. As the woman waited, she received multiple calls from the alleged kidnappers, who asked her whether she was alone.
“All the while, male and female cops from Sonarpur police station in plainclothes kept watch on her from a distance. After around one-and-a-half hours, two men approached the woman. The cops closed in on them and they were arrested on the spot,” a senior police officer said.
Based on their statements at the spot, the cops found Sardar kept hidden inside a hired Toyota Innova, parked inside the perimeter of the station. Agarwal was allegedly in the same car.
“After being rescued, Sardar was asked about the coin. He said he did not have the coin and that he had bluffed to friends,” another officer said.