Six-month-long intensive search led city police team to village in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

A child kidnapped by her paternal uncle three years ago was rescued from a village in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and reunited with her mother in Chennai on Thursday.

A. Shalini (6) was kidnapped by her deceased father’s older brother, Lalthur Ram, in a plot aimed at grabbing the family property, the police said.

After a six-month-long search by a team of four policemen led by K. Natraj, inspector (law & order), MKB Nagar police, Shalini was returned to her mother, P. Hemalatha (28) on Thursday.

According to the police, S. Arjun Lal (32), who ran a pawn-broker’s shop in MKB Nagar, was married to Hemalatha, daughter of a pawn broker, K. Pawar Lal, from neighbouring S.M. Nagar. Shalini was the couple’s only child.

Arjun Lal’s older brother, Lalthur Ram (34), lived separately in the same neighbourhood with his wife and their two children. Lalthur Ram helped Arjun Lal in his business. During a business trip to Mysore in early 2010, Arjun Lal died in a road accident. His family members went to collect the body and upon their return, were intercepted by a gang led by Lalthur Ram. They kidnapped Shalini.

“Shalini’s parents had deposited Rs. 20 lakh in her name. Also, several other properties, including the pawn shop, were registered in her name. Lalthur Ram and his accomplices may have kidnapped her to get hold of the property,” said sub-inspector (crime), G. Gopinath, who led the rescue team to Kharia Mithapur village in Bilara tehsil of Jodhpur in Rajsthan.

After the kidnap, Hemalatha lodged a complaint with the Mysore police but they were unable to make any headway in the case. Months later, Hemalatha registered a case with the MKB Nagar police. She also filed a writ petition with the Madras High Court early this year.

Based on specific clues, including indications of strained relations between Arjun Lal and Lalthur Ram, a special police team visited many places including Mysore and Bangalore and then went to Rajasthan on October 2 after the Bilara police confirmed the presence of Lalthur Ram and his family there.

In Bilara, the police had to contend with village elders who tried to prevent them from taking the child away. After several rounds of discussions, the officers managed to convince the villagers and brought the child back to Chennai.

Shalini is expected to appear in court on Friday. “My daughter is my only hope in life. I thank everyone including the police, court and my family members for helping to get my child back,” said Hemalatha.

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