Organised gangs plan their operations meticulously, giving police a torrid time, writes Marri Ramu

Kidnap for ransom cases, a rarity till few years ago, are posing fresh challenges to law-enforcing agencies. Personal animosity, monetary disputes or family feuds were the motives behind whatever stray cases reported earlier. But advent of organised criminal gangs working with clockwork precision has increased the number of abductions manifold.

A native of Hyderabad, Ali Bhai, who is reportedly supported by Mumbai don Dawood Ibrahim and operates from abroad is believed to have formed the first organised gang in the city. He mostly targeted children from rich families. Recent entrants to the field are gangs led by G. Suresh of Nalgonda and Kameswara Rao of Ongole.

While Rao was shot dead by police in the city outskirts three months ago, Suresh was arrested after kidnapping a businessman from Banjara Hills recently. Before forming such gangs, these leaders and associates were involved in petty offences like chain snatching. Lure of easy money drives them to plot kidnaps for ransom.

Unlike burglaries or white-collar offences, investigators have to overcome many obstacles to keep track of the abductors. At times, the police hesitate to raid the gang's hideout. "A slight miscalculation might cost the abducted person his life," a police officer said.

Families' fear

Another problem is the reluctance of the victim's family to share details for fear that it might harm their loved ones. A classic example is the abduction of a schoolgirl on her way to dance classes at Narayanaguda five months ago. She was set free the next day.

Till date, police are not sure if her family paid ransom or who the abductors were.

There is no foolproof system against abduction. However, employing a security guard round-the-clock, verifying credentials of workers and not going out alone would be of some help, police say.