The trend of kidnapping for ransom, once a thriving “business” in Bihar, is fast catching up the fancy of criminals in Punjab which reported four high-profile kidnappings in the recent past.A senior police officer said some cases were not even reported and “a serious thinking needs to go to stop the menace”.On April 14, a Kapurthala industrialist Narinder Singh’s 14-year-old son Jaskirat, who was kidnapped two days ago, was found dead at Fatehabad village of Goindwal Sahib in Tarn Taran district. His body was later found in a gunny bag. The parents of the boy had received a call for Rs30 lakh ransom, but the police prevented them from paying it.
“The modus operandi in the Patiala kidnapping case is similar as the ransom call was made to the parents within half an hour after kidnapping,” said a senior police officer. “A strong political will is needed to give a strong message to gangsters operating safely from jails. The trend of kidnapping for ransom cannot be allowed to flourish,” he stated, adding that criminals were opting for it as they see easy money.A victim of kidnapping, Robin Gupta, who was rescued after an exchange of fire between his kidnappers and the police last month, told The Tribune that he would not be able to come out of the trauma throughout his life. He was returning home from a function when he was held captive. His parents were asked to pay Rs2 lakh. The police intervened and when the kidnappers came to collect the money, a waiting Ludhiana police team opened fire. “It was only a miracle that I was freed,” Robin recalled.“The rising kidnapping incidents is not a good sign, both for the state administration and the people,” said Patiala MLA Brahm Mohindra. “Criminals are thriving in the state and the people have little faith in the civil and police administration that only a fraction of the cases is reported,” he said.On May 3, three days after a former sarpanch of Dhaipai village was let off by his kidnappers as his NRI brother paid Rs30 lakh ransom, the Ludhiana-rural police claimed to have cracked the case with the arrest of three men. The police said they had also recovered nearly Rs29 lakh of the ransom money. “We are doing our job. Of the recent kidnapping cases, we have been able to crack four,” said a senior police officer.
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