Chennai kidnapping: Police arrest MBA grads, rescue schoolboy

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Chennai: Two MBA graduates who masterminded the kidnapping of 13-year-old Keerthi Vasan, a student of DAV public school in Mogappair, were nabbed by the police on Wednesday.

Clad in a red T shirts and jeans, R Vijay, (26), who studied in the UK, and K Prabhu (29), who had worked in Singapore, were brought handcuffed to the Police Commissionerate, as police officials laid bare the ‘tactical operation’ where they let the kidnappers escape while they grabbed the hefty ransom of Rs 98.73 lakh on Tuesday.

Paying up the ransom was part of the strategy, said police commissioner T Rajendran. As both police and family were concerned over the safety of the boy the exchange of money was allowed to take place, he explained. “We wanted to settle for a smaller sum of Rs. 20 lakh, but the anxiety of the family to give a larger amount is understandable,” he said.

According to the police, the kidnappers bundled up Keerthi Vasan in the boot of a car, removed the speakers above the boot and let the air conditioner running to let air for breathing. The car was parked close to the teenager’s house, and after striking the deal for ransom, Vijay and Prabhu, rode to Keerthi’s house with their faces covered with helmets, and a cloth placed strategically on the number plate. After picking up the money, they handed over the car keys to Ramesh, Keerthi’s father. Ramesh took down the registration number of the bike, which became visible as the cloth flew off the plate.

The police then tracked down the bike, which was registered under Vijay’s name. Though the police had narrowed down on the location of the kidnappers by tracing their cell phones before the ransom was handed over, they did not storm in on them as they were unsure if the boy was safe, sources said – a tardy defense to the criticism that the police had failed in nabbing the abductors at the time the money was exchanged.

Over 400 policemen were involved in the intense operation that lasted 24 hours, Mr Rajendran said.

Vijay and Prabhu, who are cousins, had concocted the plan to kidnap the rich businessman’s son months ago, and had even placed a threat call to Ramesh earlier. The scared family, who immediately informed the police, had placed CCTV cameras around the house, and engaged two bodyguards for Keerthi.

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