Bihar slipping back to kidnap age

Purnia-based businessman Madhav Mahto, 50, and his son Rinku Mahto, 22, were taking a short nap at their commercial complex in the early hours of Wednesday when some unidentified persons, masquerading as cops, asked the father-son duo to follow them for an ‘inquiry’ into their ‘shady transactions’.

Bewildered initially, Mahtos eventually gave in under the impression that the policemen might have to investigate something related to their foodgrain trade. A few hours later, when the family members of Mahtos received a call demanding Rs 20 lakh for the safe release of Madhav and his son, everyone realised that the men-in-uniform were actually kidnappers.

Since then, the Purnia police have been conducting raids at possible hideouts to trace out the businessmen, but have met with no success. “We have taken five persons into custody for interrogation. We hope of an early breakthrough,” said Purnia SP, Ajit Kumar Satyarthi on Thursday. But then, this is not an isolated case of abduction. Of late, Bihar has become a ha­ven for kidnappers, someth­i­ng for which Lalu-Rabri reg­ime had become synonymous with.

Just two days back, a garment shop owner at Sheohar, Sushil Gupta, was kidnapped for ransom. He remains untraced. Last week, Gujarat businessman Md Sohail Hingora, who was abducted from Daman and held captive in Bihar’s Saran district, was released only after his father Hanif Hingora, a textile and construction tycoon, paid the abductors a hefty sum of Rs 25 crore. This was the highest ransom ever paid in Bihar’s crime history. The police have arrested two persons in this high-profile case but the four named accused, including the maste­rmind, are still at large. Mystery continues to shroud who was the ruling party politician who helped the victim clinch the ‘deal’.

Prior to this kidnapping incident, a prominent businessman Baikunthlal Barnawal was abducted from Jamui a few months back. Later the trader was found killed. The Bihar police, investigating the case, continue to grope into dark.

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