36 kidnapping cases reported in city in three years

Kathmandu, August 7

A three-year statistics released by Metropolitan Police Office show that kidnapping has become a common phenomenon in Kathmandu valley.

As many as 36 cases of kidnapping were reported in valley in the last three fiscals. According to police, ransom is the prime motive behind kidnappings, although some cases involve dispute over monetary dealings and revenge. Kidnapping for ransom by acquaintances, friends and relatives is a growing trend being witnessed by the police.

In all 36 cases of abduction recorded over a period of three years, the victims were rescued unharmed. But the law enforcement agency failed to rescue Nishan Khadka, 11, of Thimi, Bhaktapur, as the boy was killed before police traced the whereabouts of the perpetrators. He was abducted and killed by two persons, who knew the victim’s family for three years, on Sunday.

Gopal Tamang, 22, of Nuwakot and Ajay Tamang, 23, of Sindhupalchowk were frequent customers of an eatery run by the boy’s mother Chameli Khadka. Upon information about the murder of the kidnapped boy, the duo were killed in police action. They had demanded four million rupees in ransom. This is the first murder after kidnapping since 2011.

The abduction and killing of Khyati Shrestha, a twelfth grader on June 5, 2009, also shows that the perpetrators are usually the victims’ acquaintances.

Biren Shrestha Pradhan, who is now languishing in jail for his involvement in the crimes, was a former teacher of the victim and knew the girl’s family for years.

On December 22, 2011, former minister Shyam Sundar Gupta abducted businessman Pawan Kumar Sanghai. A gang led by Gupta took him hostage for 20 days before release upon payment of Rs 8.5 million in ransom. Gupta had been released after serving three years in jail. Gupta had a good personal relationship with Sanghai, police said.

In August 2011, Subash Upreti of Baneshwor kidnapped and murdered Roji Maharjan of Lalitpur after ‘their relationship turned sour’. In November 2011, 11-year-old Subham Sah was abducted from Bafal. Kidnappers demanded five million rupees in ransom but killed the boy.

In July 2017, close acquaintances of five-year-old boy Bishal Chaudhary was abducted from Chhetrapati. Police managed to rescue the child unharmed while arresting the abductors.

Police investigators said kidnappers kill the victim when they believe that his/her safe release would expose their involvement or if the person screams and tries to resist the perpetrators. Police are deployed for search and rescue operation only after the victim’s family alert the law enforcement officers about it.

‘Extracting ransom may not be the motive behind abduction’

KATHMANDU: A high-level former cop said that Nishan Khadka might have been abducted just to to be killed rather than extracting ransom from the victim’s family. Talking to THT over phone, former DIG Hemant Malla Thakuri said, “Given the economic condition of the victim’s family which runs a small eatery for subsistence, it does not seem that they would have been able to pay four million rupees in ransom.

The kidnappers, which knew the victim’s family for three years, may have been aware of the fact. Therefore, ransom may not be the reason for the boy’s abduction. Further investigation will bring out the truth.” The boy was killed and buried after a few hours of abduction. “Had the boy been kidnapped for ransom, the abductors would have kept him safe until the payment of amount demanded. On the contrary, he was murdered before the kidnappers and the family came reached a deal,” Thakuri reasoned, adding that police had handled the case seriously for safe release of the victim, but in vain. He said that the chance of rescuing the boy alive was slim as the kidnappers acted aggressively. “The first priority of police is and should always be to rescue the victim in any kidnapping case. Arrest and prosecution of the suspects come second,” Thakuri said.

A police officer said the kidnappers could have killed the boy after they got to know about the cops being mobilised for operation and Kathmandu police Chief Bishwa Raj Pokharel allegedly warned them of stern action through SMS. “If any information about kidnapping is reported, police should be mobilised covertly to ensure that the perpetrators don’t know about it. The police should not even let the victim family know about their operation as kin of the victim are likely to circulate information about possible police action to the kidnappers,” Thakuri said.