New Delhi, Apr 27: A toddler kidnapped from south-east Delhi on Sunday was rescued from adjoining Faridabad after police arrested five persons, including three women, who allegedly hatched the conspiracy as they were fed up with their menial jobs and wanted to make a fast buck.
The kidnappers were allegedly planning to demand a ransom of Rs two crore from businessman Vikram Singh residing in Maharani Bagh after a gap of 20-25 days when the momentum of investigations loses steam, police said today.
18-month-old Ishaan was kidnapped allegedly by the family servant Savita alias Seema, who took employment at the house ten days before the kidnapping, on the pretext of taking him for a walk on Sunday.
The five persons, who have no previous criminal records, hatched the conspiracy as they were fed up with their menial jobs and wanted to become rich quickly, police said.
"We rescued the child late last night from Harkesh Nagar in Faridabad's Tilpat within 72 hours of the kidnapping. We are happy to bring back smiles on the faces of Ishaan's family," B K Gupta, Delhi Police Commissioner, told reporters.
"All the accused were working in Maharani Bagh area and had no criminal background. The idea was that they had had enough of menial jobs and wanted a big catch to lead comfortable lives," he said.
The arrested have been identified as Krishna Dev Kumar (32), Ashok Kiro (23), Pratima (21), Savita (19) and Anu Ara Begum (35), who runs a placement agency.
Kiro was the first to be arrested yesterday followed by others while Pratima was arrested this afternoon from Nizamuddin Railway Station when she arrived here from Orissa.
Police got the breakthrough following investigations into an information provided by the family that their maid Pratima had gone on leave just four days before the kidnapping took place on some pretext.
"We found that Pratima was in relationship with Ashok and their marriage has been fixed. We zeroed in on Ashok who broke down during investigations," Gupta said.
Police also got the portrait of the maid prepared. "Since the photograph of the maid was not available, CCTV footage at all shops the family had visited was analysed and a footage from a South Delhi Bakery was found to have her photograph which also was used in investigations," a senior police official said.
Placement agencies were contacted and over more than 2000 photographs of the maids were shown to the family. A house to house search was also conducted in Taimur Nagar and surrounding areas as Savita had informed that her relatives were residing there.
It was Kiro who led the investigators to Sarai Kale Khan where the boy was first kept. However, the alleged kidnappers left this hideout by April 25 evening.
Kiro then provided inputs about Krishnadev, who was arrested. "The latter provided information that they have kept the boy in Tilpat where a raid was conducted and Ishaan rescued. The two women were arrested from there," Gupta said.
"Kiro told us that Kumar, Anu and his fiance Pratima had entered into a conspiracy for kidnapping a child of some rich businessman for ransom. The family where Pratima was working was in need of a maid to look after their child.
"They roped in Savita who was unemployed. They told her that she should go to Singh's house seeking employment as a maid under an assumed name and refrain from giving any particulars about her antecedents," the official said.
She was specifically asked to ensure that the family should not know that she had a mobile phone with her and she should win the affection of the child. Pratima, who got engaged with Kiro last month, in order to avoid suspicion gave the excuse that her parents were ill and left for Orissa.
Giving details about the sequence of events, Gupta said, Savita had gone to Singh's residence seeking job and Ishaan's mother wife Gayatri employed her. "That was the biggest folly of my life. After talking to her, I found she was nice and innocent," Gayatri said.
However, Gupta said, the family did not get the police verification of the new maid done. The boy was taken in a car by Annu, Kumar and Savita after she brought the boy to the nearby park.
"They had changed the appearance of the boy. They dressed him like a girl in frock and bangles. He looked exactly like a girl. They knew there was media publicity and they could get caught," Gupta said.
Police had also recovered diapers, biscuits, baby powder, baby oil and clothing from the hideout. "This revealed their detailed planning to keep the child captive for about a month or so," the official said.
Gupta said it was a "totally blind" case as the family did not get the police verification of the maid done. "We did not have the photo. The mobile phones of the suspects were found switched off. The family told us that the maid looked innocent. Our lucky breakthrough was the arrest of Kumar."
Delhi Police had formed 15 teams, including one from Crime Branch, and had send them to various parts of the country in search of the boy. They had also declared a reward of Rs 50,000 for anyone providing information about the child and released the sketch of the suspect.
According to Delhi Police, at least 552 children have gone missing from the capital this year, with this month alone accounting for 177 such cases.
Ishaan's mother Gayatri thanked Delhi Police for its "quick" investigations which helped in rescuing her child.
"Seema told me that she heard from the guards that we needed a domestic help. I liked her and employed her. She had one face for us but another for others," Gayatri said. PTI