The TV channels blared non-stop DARING ABDUCTION OF YOUNG WOMAN (23) IN BROAD DAYLIGHT.
It was about the daring abduction of a young woman that took place in broad day light in the morning as she stepped out of the gates of her bungalow. It seems she set out for a stroll in the beach as she was wont to, when a Maruti van screeched to a halt by her side close to the platform where she was slowly jogging. The door opened and in a trice she was pulled in and the vehicle sped. away. There was no time possibly for her to resist or scream as it was abrupt and sudden. The few eye witnesses were not sure how many were there in the vehicle besides the driver but were sure there were at least two men. One of them slightly limped as he came out from other side to sit beside her was the additional detail given by a witness. It sent shockwaves across the city as it had not witnessed such daring incident in the recent years.
The nosy reporters quickly gathered some details according to the TV channel that the charming lady, a post graduate was just 23, working in a foreign bank and happened to be the daughter of a prominent personality. Within a few hours the home secretary spoke to the police commissioner personally to direct that the best sleuth be put in charge of the case. He was insistent that the lady be rescued before any harm came to her. The entire investigating machinery was set in motion to rescue the lady and nab the culprits within hours.
Her parents were seen distraught when Inspector Thangaraj met them around 11 am. Assuring them of quick action, he asked, “Do you have any information besides her personal details you have given already?”
“No, I came to know about her being taken away from the security of my bungalow who was alerted by the people on the road. I tried to contact her but her phone was switched off. When she did not return even after two hours, I spoke to my friend in the government. Within 30 minutes, the commissioner spoke to me assuring very quick action and collected her details including her mobile number,” replied her father Sivaprakasam.
“Any call from others asking for money? Was there any threatening call asking you not to get in touch with police? “
“No, so far I have received none,” he replied
“OK, we are already monitoring her phone and both phones of yours and your wife’s. If someone calls, please keep talking without disconnecting. Can I have her photo?”
After taking the photo, Thangaraj asked, “Does she have any boyfriend or in love with someone?”
“No, she does not have as far as I know. She has not spoken about anyone too,” replied Sivaprakasam with certain pride.
“Thank you Sir, we have already located the likely area through her mobile when it was switched on possibly by the abductors to get in touch with you. I will let you know the developments at the earliest. In case you get any call from her or her abductors, please inform me immediately.”
Thangaraj in blue jeans and T shirt asked his driver to park the police vehicle three buildings away from the pink building that he expected to unravel the mystery. They waited in the car for 15 minutes to give the impression that police vehicle had come for some other building. He asked his sub inspector to follow him at a distance and strode fast to the pink building. There was a durwan in khaki uniform at the gate. It was around 11 am and there were not many people on the road or outside the complex. He saw a small tea shop on the opposite side of road with a couple of men sitting there.
On seeing Thangaraj coming towards the building, the durwan came out of the bunk. towards him. Thangaraj told him, “Do not panic. I am from police. I want some information. Did any red Maruti van come to this block early in the morning between 6.30 and 7 am?”
The durwan without looking at Thangaraj said softly, “Yes, one red Maruti van came around 7 am. Please do not tell anyone that I gave the information. I am not supposed to talk about the residents.”
“Surely, be quick.”
“Three men and one young woman arrived. They went to apartment 4C on the Eastern side. “
“Did she seem unwilling to go with them and dragged by them? Are the guys bad ones? Was there anyone limping?” asked Thangaraj.
“I do not know, ayya, but one man was holding her hand firmly. Their heads were lowered and they seemed in a hurry to enter the building, I do not remember anyone limping. They are all still there” he said
“Ok, keep a watch, I may recommend a reward for you if I succeed in nabbing them,” Thangaraj said and signaled his colleague to accompany him.
The two of them fully armed with revolvers went inside the complex. While Thangaraj took the lift, the other policeman took the stairs. Holding the revolver across his chest with his colleague in tow, Thangaraj rang the bell. The door was not closed fully. There was loud noise coming from inside of several people talking amid chanting of mantras.
Thangaraj pushed his way inside abruptly with the revolver in hand. What he saw baffled him totally. There were lot of people including some women dressed in their finest robes seated in the hall. There were colorful festoons and balloons. The fragrance of sandal wood and jasmine filled the hall. A purohit was seen seated in the adjacent hall on the floor before a homa kund chanting mantras.
One young man in new dhoti with zari borders of red and green and a young woman in new Kanchipuram silk sari with heavy zari border with several gold bangles on her hands and garlands on their necks were seated side by side on the sofa with a large smile.
An elderly person approached Thangaraj and said,” Welcome Sir. I am celebrating our daughter-in-law’s Seemantham (7th month function during pregnancy). Are you looking for anyone in particular?” Meanwhile a few others crowded around them.
Highly embarrassed at his faux-pas, Thangaraj said, “My sincere apologies. We came by mistake to a wrong apartment. Please carry on,” and ran down the stairs towards the gate.
The durwan was not to be seen at the gate. On approaching the bunk, he found a man lying in under garments on the floor with his limbs tied and mouth gagged. The man when freed lamented,” I am the durwan. Someone from the tea shop came around 11am and hit me unconscious, bundled me and took away my uniform.”
On further questioning he said,” A red Maruti came around 7 am and the occupants went into apartment 2A..I felt the three men were rough with a young woman who was with them. They were new to him and one of them limped. When I asked them which apartment they were going into, they did not answer but I saw them enter 2A..They looked wicked with scars on face and other places.”
While sub inspector ran to apartment 2A to find it deserted,Thangaraj ran to the tea shop owner to learn that one red Maruti van had sped away just about 15 minutes back. As the doors of vehicle were dark with tainted glasses, the tea shop man could not see inside but heard a muffled sound of someone crying. Thangaraj thanked god for his barricading the road on both ends and strategically posting his men without uniforms beforehand.He recollected then that the fake durwan dragged his feet slightly when he approached him initially and regretted how he was misled by his khaki uniform as durwan.
There was a ring from Sivaprakasam that there was a call from one of the abductors instructing him to be ready with Rs. 50 Lakhs in 2000 rupee notes and await further instructions. Thangaraj assured him that he would call him back.
It was then his mobile came alive and Thangaraj’s face brightened as he was listening and told the party at the other end, “Good job done in handcuffing them. I am happy barricading proved beneficial and you could nab them. I hope you have taken away any possible weapon they may have. Treat the lady respectfully and get her seated in another car. Get her some soft drink. I will be there in a minute.”
The commissioner and the Home Secretary personally congratulated him. Sivaprakasam was overjoyed.
TV channels blared again,
ABDUCTED YOUNG LADY (23) RESCUED WITHIN HOURS BY CITY POLICE.
Thanks to Inspector Thangaraj’s presence of mind and planning