Four Nabbed, Hunt On For 5th Accused
The 19-year-old son of an income tax officer, kidnapped 10 days ago for ransom, was allegedly strangled to death by his captors within hours of the abduction, police said on Friday after his body was recovered from a quarry .The abduction was masterminded by a family friend and neighbour. The body of Sharath N, son of V Niranjan Kumar, was found near Manchanabele dam, west of Bengaluru, where it had been buri ed by the culprits. Police have arrested four of the five culprits -Sharath’s neighbour and crime mastermind HP Vishal, 21, of Jnanaganganagar, Ullala; Vinay Prasad alias Vicky , 24; Karan Pai, 22; and Vinod Kumar V , 24. Vicky, Karan and Vinod are residents of Chunchanakuppe.
Announcing the arrests, police commissioner T Suneel Kumar said they are looking for the fifth accused, Shanta Kumar alias Shanta, a driver with Uber. The kidnap plot went awry after Vishal visited Sharath’s house hours after the abduction on September 12 and learnt the family had complained to the police. Vishal ordered his associates to kill Sharath even as five police teams were scouring every nook and corner of the city .
Sharath was strangled in a car.Vishal and his aides disposed of the body in the quarry . They tied stones to the body and pushed it into Ramohalli lake. On September 20, as the body surfaced, they carried it to a quarry near Machanabele dam, some 5km from the lake, and buried it.
Sharath was a diploma student with Acharya Institute of Technology , Soladevanahalli. He is survived by his parents and elder sister Shalini N, also a diploma student.
The police commissioner said Vishal and Vicky hatched the abduction plan and roped in their three associates. Vishal, a diploma student in a private college near Ullala, was also a tout at Ullala RTO office. Vicky is a cab driver and got to know Vishal through his niece. Vishal told Vicky that his neighbour was a “rich“ income tax officer and abducting his son could help them hit pay dirt.
The two then brought in Vinod, also a cab driver, and Pai, who works at a factory near Bidadi. “Vishal and Vicky convinced the others saying they can settle down in life if they abduct Sharath and raise huge money as ransom,“ a police officer said.
Vishal and Shalini studied together in school and he was a regular visitor to their home. Police said Vishal told Sharath, a motorcycle buff, on the day of abduction that he would take him to a friend’s place in the evening where they could test-ride a Benelli, an Italian superbike. Sharath, who had bought a new Royal Enfield Bullet Classic bike recently, left home telling his parents that he was going out to meet friends.
Vishal rode the new Bullet with Sharath as pillion and head ed towards Kengeri. Around 7.15pm, they reached the Kengeri Satellite bus stand. Vicky and others were waiting there in a friend’s Maruti Swift, police said.
Soon, the gang drove towards Big Banyan Tree where they consumed beer. “Vishal tied Sharath’s hands and legs, and told him they had kidnapped him for ransom.Sharath started crying and the abductors stuffed cloth in his mouth,“ a police officer said.
They then drove towards a desolate place and the abductors made a video of Sharath’s appeal to his father. “I have been kidnapped by people who have suffered because of you. The abductors look like terrorists and have weapons. They are demanding Rs 50 lakh for my release. Please give them the money, dad. They know about my sister and will abduct her if you don’t pay them,“ Sharath appealed to his father in the video.
The video was sent on WhatsApp from Sharath’s phone to his parents and sister around 8.30pm.
“The gang stayed behind near the Big Banyan Tree while Vishal returned to his house. He dropped in at Sharath’s residence and Shalini told him that someone had kidnapped her brother for ransom,“ the officer said. Vishal also learned that Sharath’s father was to file a police complaint.
“Vishal came out of the house and called his associates. He asked them to make another video in which Sharath should request his father not to file a police complaint. A little later, the second WhatsApp video too reached the family ,“ the officer said.
Around 11pm, Sharath’s father filed a police complaint. “Vishal, present near the house, called Shalini and learned that the police complaint had been filed. Immediately , Vishal asked his associates to kill him,“ police said.