More to Noida case than meets the eye

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Little Anant back with his mother
Little Anant back with his mother

Prashant Pandey

Police role in rescue of Anant comes under the scanner

NOIDA: With the recovery of the ransom amount of Rs.50 lakh late on 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 that 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 shortly after the child's release on Friday, was produced in a court here on Saturday.

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 had been recovered, the Noida police denied it. Meanwhile, efforts are on to nab the three other accused.

Auto driver's version

Earlier, auto rickshaw driver Bhupinder Singh, who brought Anant to his residence here on Friday afternoon, told a TV news channel that he was hired from near Apollo Hospital 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, said the auto driver.

He then took Anant to Sector-15/A in Noida, where his jubilant family gave him a thousand rupees as reward.

Bhupinder 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 phone 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 TV channel, had claimed that he 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.

Late on Friday night investigations had taken a dramatic turn when the Special Task Force of the UP police claimed that it had recovered Rs.50 lakh paid as ransom by the child's family from Belana village in Bulandshahr at the instance of Jitender.

While the police and the child's father Naresh Gupta kept claiming throughout Friday that no ransom was ever paid, late at night the Abode 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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