Victims' acquantances behind kidnapping-for-ransom, says SP KC

KATHMANDU: If you think that acquaintances are to be trusted, better give a second thought to it. It has finally been made public that most of the reported cases of kidnapping for ransom are perpetrated by victims’ acquaintances.

SP Ganesh KC, in-charge of the Metropolitan Police Range, maintained that most of the abductions reported in recent time were perpetrated by persons who have an acquaintance with the victims.

Consider this case: On November 27, Ram Kumar Bhandari received a call from an identified gang via mobile phones bearing the numbers - 9841427262, 9808289179 and 9808112101- demanding Rs 5 million ‘to ensure that he and his family won’t be harmed’. The gang insisted on sending the amount demanded through International Money Express (IME). “We are close to abducting you and your family. You transfer the money or face the reprisal beyond your imagination,” they said on the phone.

Bhandari could not bear repeated threats over phone. He lodged a complaint at Metropolitan Police Crime Division (MPCD), Hanumandhoka in writing. The police immediately booked Pancha Kumar Bishwokarma (32), who hailed from Timma- 7 of Bhojpur - who had dialed the number 9808289179 from his mobile. The accused is facing a trial under the Abduction and Hostage Taking Attempt Act.

In another instance, Bishwamitra Rai, Ganesh Kumar Shrestha and Raj Kumar Dhakal abducted Bal Krishna Shrestha (32), hailing from Jorpati- 1, Kathmandu from Ganeshsthan on December 10.

They took him to an undisclosed location of Balaju at gun-point and asked for a ransom of Rs 310,000. The police netted the abductors later.

Mahendra Thapa, Arjun Chhetri and Raju Lama similarly kidnapped Rajendra Gurung, Gopi Dhungana and Deepak Kumar Khadka at Chabahil and demanded ransom on December 9.

Bijaya KC, Rajendra Prasad Gautam, Buddha Ratna Shakya and Rajeev Shrestha on November 23 abducted Rajesh Thapa, hailing from Sundara- 2 of Nuwakot and brought him in Kathmandu.

The alleged abductors took Rajesh hostage at a rented room of Buddha Ratna in Makhan.

Janaki Thapa, Rajesh’s mother lodged a complaint at MPCD, Hanumandhoka and pleaded for his son’s release. The police acted on her complaint and apprehended them. Rajesh’s unharmed release from the abductors’ grip was sought. There could be many such cases of kidnapping or abductions which go unreported due to fear of retribution. But these representative cases of abductions for ransom in the Kathmandu Valley has confirmed the virtual collapse of law and order machinery allowing the crime of such kind to flourish as a cottage industry.

The abduction and killing of Khyati Shrestha, a twelve grader on June 5 was a solid evidence to support the claim. The harrowing incident had unleashed terror across the county. The cases of abduction and hostage taking have made a long journey, yet most victims do not report to the police.

Affluent Marwari community and traders and industrialists have become a soft target of the criminal racket. They are said to be paying an undisclosed ransom.

SSP Rana Bahadur Chand, in-charge of MPCD, said that the police were considering a new strategy in association with the public to combat the kidnapping.