Pan­icked kid­nap­pers kill boy even be­fore mak­ing call for ran­som

Powai po­lice ar­rest two youths who al­legedly kid­napped a 12-yearold and then stran­gled him to death over fear of get­ting caught

Mid Day - - CITY - SAMIULLAH KHAN samiullah.khan@mid-day.com

THIS duo had made grand plans of ask­ing for R10 lakh as ran­som af­ter kid­nap­ping a 12-year-old from Powai. But the two pan­icked even be­fore mak­ing that call to the fam­ily and killed the boy.

The Powai po­lice have ar­rested the ac­cused and re­cov­ered the mi­nor’s body from a spot near Bhayan­der.

The killers within

Ritesh Singh, a Std III stu­dent in a civic school who stayed with his par­ents in Powai’s Hanu­man Chawl, had gone miss­ing on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

The po­lice said the ac­cused — Amar Singh, 19, and Lalu Singh, 21 — were known to the fam­ily as they were in re­lated lines of work — Amar and Ritesh’s fa­ther did fab­ri­ca­tion and weld­ing jobs in the same lo­cal­ity, while Lalu, a Bhayan­der res­i­dent, was into steel pol­ish­ing. They all hail from Fateh­pur dis­trict in Ut­tar Pradesh.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cers, the two con­fessed to the crime and told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that they had ab­ducted the child for ran­som but, on be­com­ing aware that the mat­ter had gone to the po­lice, pan­icked and killed him out of fear of be­ing caught.

In mourn­ing

The boy’s fa­ther, Bablu, told mid-day, “I came home from work to have lunch; Ritesh was play­ing then. Af­ter a while, Amar came over and spent some time with Ritesh, af­ter which he asked me if he could go out with Amar. I didn’t think twice be­fore say­ing yes as it wasn’t the first time the two were hang­ing out.” Around 2.30 pm, Bablu added, he called up Amar to ask about Ritesh; Amar told him that he had dropped the boy near home hours ago. “We started search­ing for Ritesh but couldn’t find him any­where. I called up Amar again, telling him how up­set we were. He promised to come over im­me­di­ately but didn’t show up. We waited till evening and called him again, but his phone was switched off. Af­ter that, I lodged a po­lice com­plaint. “I didn’t get any ran­som call. I know both of them very well; we never had any quar­rel or fight, there was no an­i­mos­ity. I fail to un­der­stand why they did this. But what I do know is that both of them should get the strictest pun­ish­ment,” said a bereft Bablu.

Po­lice­s­peak

Ritesh’s body, re­cov­ered last morn­ing, had sev­eral in­juries. It is feared that the boy was bru­tally as­saulted be­fore be­ing stran­gled to death, an of­fi­cer said.

DCP (zone X) Navin Reddy said, “The mo­tive was to ex­tort money from the vic­tim’s fa­ther, but they got scared and killed the child. They have been booked for kid­nap­ping and mur­der. They were pro­duced in court, which sent them to po­lice cus­tody. Fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on.” The ran­som the ac­cused had planned to de­mand VARSHA Sak­pal, 20, was lucky to make it out alive in the Sid­dhi Sai build­ing col­lapse, but ac­cord­ing to the au­thor­i­ties, she did not suf­fer enough to qual­ify for com­pen­sa­tion de­clared by Chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fadan­vis. This, de­spite the fact that Varsha was ad­mit­ted in hospi­tal for four days af­ter be­ing res­cued from the rub­ble, and her name is also on the list of in­jured peo­ple.

Varsha told mid-day, “Af­ter I got dis­charged from the hospi­tal, one of my neigh­bours said that the gov­ern­ment had de­clared com­pen­sa­tion of R50,000 for the in­jured. I found my name on the list of in­jured peo­ple, and wrote an ap­pli­ca­tion to the Col­lec­tor. But three months later, I am still wait­ing for the money.”

She al­leged, “One of the of­fi­cials at the Mu­lund tehsil­dar’s of­fice said that I was ad­mit­ted for just four days, and the com­pen­sa­tion was only for those who had spent more than seven days in hospi­tal. He said that the only rea­son my name was on the list was be­cause my fi­nan­cial back­ground is weak.”

At the epi­cen­tre

Varsha was right in the thick of it all when dis­as­ter struck on July 25. Hav­ing re­cently cleared her TYBCom, she had just started work­ing as an ac­counts ex­ec­u­tive at Sena leader Su­nil Shi­tap’s hospi­tal at the build­ing — the same hospi­tal that was be­ing il­le­gally ren­o­vated, re­sult­ing in the col­lapse.

She is now pur­su­ing her Mcom and is sup­port­ing her­self by tu­tor­ing com­puter stu­dents, as well as teach­ing Marathi and Hindi to Std V and X stu­dents. Even as she jug­gles teach­ing and study­ing, Varsha has spent the last few months run­ning from pil­lar to post to fol­low up on the com­pen­sa­tion, to no avail.

The other side

When mid-day con­tacted Pankaj Bisht, the in-charge of the com­pen­sa­tion at MP Kirit So­maiya’s of­fice in Delhi, he said, “I had re­ceived in­for­ma­tion that the amount was re­leased from the con­cerned de­part­ment at the Delhi PMO. Now, only the Col­lec­tor’s of­fice in Mumbai can shed light on this mat­ter.”

Deep­en­dra Singh Kush­waha, Col­lec­tor of Mumbai sub­urbs, said, “I was not aware that she was left, or why she has not re­ceived com­pen­sa­tion. I will check the records and help her as per pro­ce­dure.” Com­pen­sa­tion promised by the CM

PICS/HANIF PA­TEL

The spot near Bhayan­der from where the body of Powai res­i­dent (be­low) Ritesh Singh was re­cov­ered.

mid-day’s re­port on Varsha’s ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing the col­lapse

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