Kidnap: Cabbies’ way to big bucks

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In less then 48 hours, the city has witnessed a second kidnapping. While the jeweller kidnapped in the first incident was not so lucky, the BMRCL engineer who was the second victim was rescued near Mandya by the local police. In the recent past, incidents of kidnapping have ended in murder. It would be foolish to dismiss them as isolated cases as many of them centre on taxis and cab drivers. With over four lakh cabs and an equal number of drivers thronging the city from villages and small towns, the situation requires the police to have a complete data base of all drivers, and mandates that police issue clearance certificates for all operators and employees. Team DC reports.

Another high-profile kidnapping case has uncovered a serious lapse in the city’s law and order scenario. After the kidnap and murder of city-based jeweller, Nitesh Bera, a senior official of Namma Metro, K.R. Shivanand, was kidnapped on Wednesday night but was fortunately rescued by the Mandya police.

Before joining BMRCL, Mr Shivanand worked with a firm in Singapore. When the State Government decided to hand over the execution of the High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) to the BMRCL, Mr Shivanand was given additional responsibility as nodal officer for the project.

He was actually involved in studying the detailed project report submitted by the infrastructure development department which was the nodal agency for the execution of the project before it was handed over to the BMRCL.

How the drama unfolded

Just few hours after the kidnapped jeweller was murdered near Dobbspet, miscreants struck on Wednesday night and spirited away Mr Shivanand, 44, from the parking lot of the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) office in Shantinagar.

Mr Shivanand usually takes his official cab from the basement of his office. He did the same on Wednesday at around 8 pm. As he was getting in to go home in AECS Layout in Sanjay Nagar, the cab driver Jayant and three accomplices pulled him inside giving him no scope to raise an alarm. He was gagged and the cab (registration number KA 50 – 2011) zoomed towards the Mysore Road.

On the way he was robbed of his possessions – a gold chain and other valuables and cash. The four men then made him withdraw Rs 40,000 from his account at an ATM, police sources said.

Due to the incidents of kidnapping and chain snatching reported, Pandavapura police had erected nakabandi to check the movement of vehicles. But the cab which abducted Shivanand sped away towards Nagamangala without stopping at the police barricades.

It was 2 a.m., and the police grew suspicious about the cab when it did not stop. A message was flashed to stop it. It was finally intercepted at the check point near Jakkanahalli Circle in Pandavapura.

The driver and two others managed to escape, but Pandavapura police managed to catch one of the accused. The engineer was rescued. Speaking to the media later, Mr Shivanand said that he was mentally shocked and unable to speak.

He said that he was beaten up very badly and his abductors demanded money from him. They made him swipe his ATM cards at a couple of ATMs to get them money, he added.

The police have stated that the victim’s residence had also been called and Rs 50 lakh was demanded for his release.

The Pandavapura police have arrested Uday Kumar and are hunting for the prime accused, driver Jayant and three others.

Timeline of abduction

Wednesday:

8:00 pm
A BMRCL senior official, K. R .Shivanand took an official cab from his Shanthinagar office to reach his residence.

8.30-10 pm
Three more kidnappers joined the cab driver Jayant to abduct and rob Mr. Shivanand. The victim was tied with nylon ropes so that he was unable to escape and was driven to the city’s outskirts.

10 pm - midnight
The cab fled to Mysore Road and he was relieved of his gold chain, valuables and cash and was made to withdraw Rs 40,000 from his account. A call was made to his residence and Rs 50,000 was demanded as ransom.

Thursday:

1 am - 2 am
Police nabbed one of the accused and rescued Mr Shivanand near Jakkanahalli Circle in Pandavapura. Three others have managed to escape.

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