Prashant Pandey

Police deny hand of gangster Kalia in kidnapping

NOIDA: With the recovery of the ransom amount late Friday night, the police role in securing the release of Adobe executive Naresh Gupta's three-year-old son Anant from kidnappers has come under the scanner. While several claims were made throughout Saturday about the sequence of events which led to the release of Anant, the Uttar Pradesh police maintained that the child was freed near the Noida-Bulandshahr border.

Jitender, who was arrested in the case, was produced in a city court here. Though the police sought his custody, the court remanded him to judicial custody. While there were reports that the motorcycle allegedly used in the crime was recovered, the Noida police denied the claim. Efforts are on to nab three other accused.

Auto driver's version

Earlier, autorickshaw driver Bhupinder Singh, who brought Anant to his house here on Friday, told a news channel that he was hired from near the Apollo Hospitals in south Delhi.

The man who handed over Anant to him asked him to take the boy to the address mentioned on his school badge, claiming that he had lost his way. Bhupinder then took Anant to Sector-15/A in Noida, where his jubilant family gave him Rs. 1,000 as reward.

The auto driver said that later in the evening the police took him to the Sector-63 police post in Noida and kept him confined there all night.

He was also not allowed to make a call to his family.

He was let off in the morning.

Inspector-General (Meerut Range) N. B. Singh, however, dismissed his claims. "We recovered Anant from near the Noida-Bulandshahr border and we stand by our version."

Mr. Singh denied that an alleged gangster Ashok Kalia was involved in the kidnap. Kalia, appearing with his face covered on another television channel, claimed that he had kept the child for two days and that the ransom demanded was in crores.

Mr. Singh said the case was solved; it was established that novices were involved in the incident.

On Friday night, investigations took a dramatic turn when the Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh police claimed that it had recovered Rs. 50 lakh paid as ransom from Belana village in Bulandshahr at the instance of Jitender.

Defends payment

While the police and Mr. Gupta kept claiming during a press conference on Friday evening that no ransom was ever paid, at night the Adobe executive admitted to having paid Rs. 50 lakh to the kidnappers. "I had to choose between Rs. 50 lakh and my child. I chose the latter," he said.

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