Chennai kidnapping: MBA cousins arrested, schoolboy freed


Chennai, November 03: If it was a cab driver and his tractor-driver friend who had abducted, raped and killed a little schoolgirl along with her younger brother in Coimbatore last week, the police in Chennai have now arrested two MBA cousins and charged them with kidnapping at knife-point a city millionaire’s teenager son.

Fortunately, Keerthi Vasan, 13, was ‘rescued’ from the abductors through a ‘tactical operation’ by the police who shadowed the duo when the cousins turned up on a motorbike to collect the booty of Rs.9.873 million.

City police commissioner T Rajendran proudly paraded the cousins, clad in red T-shirts and jeans, before the media on Wednesday morning. R Vijay Kumar, 26, an engineering graduate, had done MBA in UK and K. Prabhu, 29, a diploma holder in engineering, worked for sometime in Singapore.

“Both decided to get rich quick and so they grabbed the boy,” said the commissioner.

The greedy cousins had stalked Keerthi for a while and even placed a threat call three months ago to his father Ramesh, a granite dealer, saying the boy would be kidnapped for ransom. That call could not be traced because it was made using a SIM card registered with fake address.

And on Monday evening, the two men abducted the kid as he was getting into his car at school to return home. The driver was threatened at knifepoint and pushed out. The abductors drove away with the boy and later changed to another vehicle abandoning the first car on the city outskirts. Ironically, the two bodyguards employed by Ramesh to protect his boy after the threat call were away on another errand when the duo struck.

Not just the boy’s parents, the entire police top brass slept sleepless night on Monday, worried with dark memories of the Coimbatore tragedy. The abductors called Ramesh and demanded Rs.30 million for the boy’s release. The father pleaded for time and lowering the price.

“We suggested he could get Rs.2 million ready and negotiate for that ransom. But the family agreed to pay almost a crore of rupees and we understand their anxiety. We (police) too tried to raise some money to help meet the ransom demand. We wanted to ensure that the boy was rescued safely and that’s why we refrained from any storming operation even though we were fairly certain where the two abductors were,” the commissioner said.

According to him, the kidnappers had waited at a garage close to the boy’s house while negotiating with the father. When the ransom deal was struck, they bundled the kid in the car’s boot with the speakers removed to let the air in and the air-conditioner running. After locking the car, they rode a motorbike wearing helmets and picked up the moneybags brought by Ramesh. They gave the car keys to the father, told him where to find the boy and sped away.

Unluckily for them, the cloth they had tied around the bike’s registration plate flew off and the father noted down the number. Within a short time, the police traced the bike registered in Vijay’s name and got him at his house. He led them to his cousin.

Meanwhile, Ramesh found his son in the car boot and the police recovered the entire ransom money. The nerve-cracking abduction drama ended on a happy note, with the kid smiling into TV cameras, the relieved dad thanking the police and commissioner Rajendran patting his lieutenants for the ‘tactful’ operation.

Only the greedy cousins had sullen frowns as the media cameras clicked away before they were whisked away to the jail, their quick-wealth dream crashed.

In picture: Suspects Vijay, left, and Prabhu, who were arrested by Chennai police today.

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