It is an incident that has shocked the business community in Hyderabad. Gajendra Parakh, a 40-year-old businessman working as an automobile financier has been admitted to the KIMS hospital in the city, with his arm broken and grievous injuries on his eye and face, after being assaulted by alleged kidnappers.
Around 11:30 pm on Sunday near AV College in Himayatnagar area in the heart of Hyderabad, he was allegedly kidnapped by a gang and released after he paid up Rs one crore.
Sounds filmy? Yes, the description of the incident as given by Parakh, indeed is.
According to Parakh, he was at the usual spot where his friends and he would meet late on Sunday evening. After the last of them left, Parakh was just finishing a smoke when a few masked men got off a car, covered his face and forcibly took him away. When he resisted, he was beaten up and his hand broke.
Subsequently the abductors reportedly told him they have a `supari’ (for contract abduction/killing) in his name for 2 crore rupees from “Bombay” but they would release him if he paid up 3 crore rupees. Gajendra said he did not have that amount of cash upon which he was told, he would be done away with. They even asked him if as a last wish, he would like to eat something.
Panicking, Gajendra offered 50 lakh rupees. They did not agree and finally, the deal was struck for one crore rupees. Gajendra asked his friend and business associate to come and deposit the cash on the bonnet of a car parked near Little Flower school in Abids area. Shortly afterwards at around 2:45 am, they dropped Gajendra at Abids.
Gajendra says they knew all details of his family – his brothers, his children, everyone’s income and background. They warned that if he dared to report to the police “tumhare family member kuch kam ho jayenge” (you will lose your family members). So Gajendra initially did not want to inform the police.
His friend Prabhu Kothari says he had to convince Gajendra and even told him that even if he (Gajendra) did not, Kothari would go to the cops since this was now a big issue and anyone could get similarly kidnapped and easy money earned. The police are investigating business-related enmity the victim may have, which could have provoked this abduction. There are reports of Prasad having differences with a Mumbai-based financier.
A couple of questions that need answers.
Given the penetration of CCTVs in Hyderabad, it is quite shocking that a gang dared to carry out such a crime in a crowded area like Himayat Nagar and Abids. Even though it was a Sunday, because of the Bonalu festival going on in different parts of Hyderabad, there is considerable police presence on the roads apart from people flocking to temples at this time of the year.
Since a phone call was made to the businessman’s friend, even if it was a Whatsapp call, the police should have no problem in finding out the mobile tower location of the gang at that point in time. From there to be able to get CCTV images of the vehicle in which the businessman was confined and then tracing its route, would be the police line of investigation in getting to the kidnappers. Police sources say they have accessed the CCTV footage.
And since there must have been communication with an accomplice near the school before and after the bag was delivered, getting to other members of the gang should not be difficult. Given the panic the crime has created, the professional kidnappers need to be behind bars soonest.
Update : A three-member gang from the Old city area has been arrested.