Suspect in hospital, she may be part of begging mafia

In a well-coordinated operation that saw swift action by the police and the public, a middle-aged woman, who had kidnapped a toddler from Chamarajpet, was nabbed and the child was rescued safely four hours later at around 9 p.m. from a congested bylane in J.J. Nagar on Wednesday. The police suspect the role of the begging mafia behind the failed attempt.

It all began around 4.45 p.m., with Parveen Banu (50), a resident of Goripalya, turning up at the doorstep of Ghouse Khan, a resident of Tipu Nagar in Chamarajpet, seeking a glass of water to drink. The family members obliged her and went back in to attend to their chores, leaving the children, two-year-old Hajira Khanum and her cousins Harbeena Khanum and Misba Khanum, playing outside.

Taking advantage of the absence of adults, Parveen Banu took Hajira Khanum on the pretext of buying her chocolates. The other two children, uneasy over the stranger picking up their baby cousin, ran inside and informed the family members about the lady who offered them chocolates. When the alarmed family members ran out to check for Hajira, she was missing.

They informed the police and the South Division police immediately cordoned off the entire area seeking public help by printing and distributing 1,000 photographs of the toddler. They also went around making public announcements and got similar announcements broadcast from local mosques in Chamrajpet, Goripalya, J.J. Nagar and Mysore Road.

Some 150 police personnel fanned out, forming a dragnet, even checking the nearby graveyard. Their efforts paid off when some members of the public, alerted by the announcement, saw Parveen Banu — with the sleeping toddler in her arms — hiding in a dimly lit bylane in J.J. Nagar. The enraged public thrashed the woman before handing her over to the police.

Background suspect

“Though the accused confessed that she was childless and wanted to raise the child, we suspect her to be part of a begging mafia. A quick background check revealed that she has four children who are married,” Deputy Commissioner of Police H.S. Revanna said. He suspected the involvement of more persons in the child-lifting racket. “There is also a possibility she had plans to sell the child. We are looking at this angle too.”

Parveen Banu, who was injured when she was bashed up, was hospitalised. Chamarajpet police are awaiting her recovery to question her further.

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