Kidnapped!

Kidnapped!

Ratanlal Seth was sitting bored at the counter of his jewelry shop. No customer had come along and his 20 year old nephew Rajeev, who helped as the shop assistant, had gone to fetch tea. 'Why is this boy taking so long?' wondered Sethji. Suddenly the phone rang loud and harsh. "Kaun hai?"  (Who is it?) Sethji inquired. A gruff voice replied "No need for you to know. Now, listen carefully. Rajeev has been kidnapped. If you want to see him alive, deliver three lakh rupees, all in hundred rupee notes, by 5 o'clock this evening. I will call again to let you know the place. Understood?"

Sethji was stunned. His mind raced. "Rajeev kidnapped? Oh God! Shall I call the police, lest the kidnapper should harm Rajeev?" He decided to play for time and said into the phone "Hello, hello, what are you saying? I can't hear you. Hello?" He disconnected the phone. Within a few seconds the phone blared again. "Arre, bewaqoof buddhe (old fool), don't play these games with me. I know you heard all I said. I warn you not to go to the police if you care for Rajeev's life. Three lakhs, no less, understand?"

Sethji was now perturbed even more. The crook seemed to be a mind-reader, too! Money was not a problem for Sethji and he decided to pay the ransom to save Rajeev. He said "Alright, as you wish. Where is the money to be brought?"

"Bring it in a paper bag to the Government Primary School on the outskirts of Patharpur; it is only 15 miles from your shop. Leave the money under the thorn bush opposite the gate of the school and go back immediately. Make sure no one is watching you. And remember, do not stand there or look back. I will release Rajeev within 5 minutes of your departure. Don't try to act smart, okay? Otherwise Rajeev will be in big trouble"
Sethji took no chances. How would he answer Rajeev's parents if any tragedy was to befall Rajeev? He took the money to the Patharpur school on his scooter and placed it under the thorn bush exactly at 5 pm. Fortunately the school was deserted at that time and nobody noticed Sethji's doings. He returned in half-an-hour after accomplishing his mission and waited anxiously for Rajeev's return. Every minute seemed like an hour.
Ten minutes later Rajeev came running into the shop and collapsed in a chair. He was completely out of breath and was sweating profusely. Sethji could not hide his tears of joy and hugged Rajeev in a tight grip. Soon Rajeev recovered his breath and said "Chachaji, thank you ever so much for saving my life. I do not know how that masked rascal would have tortured me if you had not paid him the ransom. At least he kept his promise and released me from his hiding place behind the school after he got the money"
That night Sethji performed a special puja at the temple in gratitude to God. Yet the next morning he was a worried man. What if the kidnapper struck again?

When the shop opened he told Rajeev "Beta, mind the shop for a while. I will go to  the police station and report this matter so that we are not caught in a similar situation again" At the police station Sethji narrated the kidnap episode to Inspector Murali in detail. "Please take steps, Inspector Saheb, to prevent such things from happening again" he pleaded.

The Inspector studied for a few minutes the notes he had made . He said "Sethji, I think you have no reason to fear a repeat of this episode. Where is Rajeev now?" "I left him at the shop to mind the business when I came here" The Inspector jumped out of his seat and said "Sethji, let us go at once to the shop. You have trusted your nephew more than he deserves. I do not think there was any kidnapping at all" What  made Inspector Murali doubt the veracity of the kidnap story?

Answer: If it took Sethji half an hour on his scooter to get back to his shop from the school and Rajeev was released five minutes after Sethji left the school, how could Rajeev have covered the distance in 10 minutes of running? Rajeev had obviously arranged with a friend to pick up the ransom money, while he himself was somewhere close to the shop.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)