An eight-year-old boy, who was allegedly kidnapped by a three-member gang in a passenger van, was rescued in about one hour here on Thursday. Two persons were arrested and the van was seized.

Police sources said that R. Praveen Kumar, studying in fourth standard in a school in TVS Nagar, and his elder brother R. Santosh Kumar (studying in seventh standard in the same school) were residents of Parasakthi Nagar, Villapuram.

After attending school, the two brothers went to a Hindi tuition centre situated on Rajam Road in TVS Nagar. As they stepped out of the centre, the elder brother had called his father N. Ramaraj on his mobile phone to come and pick them up.

Meanwhile, Praveen, who was standing on the road, was forcibly taken away in a waiting vehicle.

Shocked, Santhosh again telephoned his father and conveyed the message and asked him to rush to the spot. In a swift action, some residents raised an alarm and also called the police.

Inspector of Police (Andalpuram) P. Tharmar said that he received a call from Sub-Inspector of Police Stalin, (who was on duty at Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers M.K. Alagiri's residence at the nearby Sathya Sai Nagar).

Immediately, Mr. Tharmar alerted senior police officers and swung into action.

According to a resident, M. Kalimahesh of Rajam Road, the vehicle moved towards Alagappan Nagar at around 2.10 p.m. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) P.C. Thenmozhi, Assistant Commissioners of Police A. Ganesan, S. Vellathurai and teams went in different directions after alerting all the check-posts. After about an hour, the police spotted the van underneath a road over-bridge near TNSTC head office in which Praveen was sitting along with two persons.

Former employees

Investigation revealed that two of the three kidnappers — whose names were given as Venkatesh and Mano — were formerly employed in a unit run by Mr. Ramaraj in Jaihindpuram. According to Mr. Tharmar, they had planned to kidnap the boy and demand ransom from the victim's father. The name of the third accused was given as Manoj. The vehicle was driven by Venkatesh.

According to the confession of the kidnappers who were about to change the vehicle, they were waiting for another car to arrive. The police seized a pair of scissors, clothes used to gag the boy's mouth and a few mobile phone sets.

Andalpuram police have registered a case of kidnap for ransom. The grave crime committed in broad daylight had come as a shock. But the rescue act came as a relief among the custodians of the law. Commissioner of Police P. Balasubramanian commended the teams for swift action.

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