Kidnapped by Ola cabbie, doctor freed after shootout in Meerut

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • On July 6, Dr Srikanth Goud, working in Delhi’s Metro Hospital, was kidnapped while travelling in an Ola cab
  • At least 25 Delhi Police teams were stationed in west UP for the last 10 days, after the first ransom call was tracked to Daurala
  • The 13-day drama, which saw two police encounters with the accused, finally ended on Wednesday

NEW DELHI: In a story straight out of a crime thriller, a doctor traveling home in an Ola cab earlier this month was abducted by the cabbie and his associates. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of Rs 5 crore, not from the doctor’s family, but from Ola.

The 13-day drama, which saw two police encounters with the accused and 200 Delhi cops being deployed for investigations and search operations, finally ended on Wednesday with the doctor’s rescue and the arrest of four kidnappers from Meerut. At least other five accused, including the masterminds, are absconding.

“We’re conducting raids to nab the rest of them and also questioning some of the accused,” said joint commissioner (eastern range) Ravindra Yadav, who headed the operation.

The doctor, Srikanth Goud from Hyderabad+ , works at a private hospital in Delhi. He had booked the cab through the mobile app on the night of July 6 for returning from a birthday party in Noida. Gaud’s friend, Dr Rakesh, dropped him around midnight at Preet Vihar Metro station, where Gaud had booked the cab. He lives with a friend in Gautam Nagar, south Delhi.

After he boarded the cab, the driver locked the doors and drove the car towards Dadri. Goud told police he had protested when the driver took a turn towards Noida. However, the driver kept going and after they crossed into Noida, he threatened to kill the doctor if he tried to raise an alarm. Three of the cabbie’s associates boarded the vehicle from Noida before driving off to Dadri.

The first call was made to the Ola call centre on July 7, in which the kidnappers demanded a ransom of Rs 5 crore. Ola refused to comment on the developments.

Another call was made to the doctor’s hospital. The kidnappers spoke to a nurse and asked the hospital to build pressure on Ola, saying they just wanted to teach the company a lesson. Meanwhile, they kept changing their locations.

To evade technical surveillance, the gang used the doctor’s mobile. They shot the doctor’s videos on his mobile and send the clips to Ola and the family.

It was found that two of the kidnappers are siblings and both had earlier worked with Ola. They are yet to be arrested. They were miffed with Ola due to alleged non-payment of incentives, sources said.

Wednesday’s encounter took place in Shatabdi Nagar area of Meerut when cops confronted the kidnappers near a railway crossing while they were changing their location with the doctor. They tried to take advantage of a group of kanwariyas and flee but were surrounded by a joint team of Delhi Police and UP STF. When they were challenged by the cops, the men opened fire.

At least three-four rounds were exchanged during which one of the kidnappers was hit on the thigh.

Sources said massive raids are on in the Meerut district to nab the prime conspirators, one of whom has been identified as Anuj. Most of these kidnappers belong to Daurala, Dadri and areas near Meerut. Three of the four have been identified as Pradeep, Nepal and Amit. Cops are trying to identify the cabbie.

“A team led by SHO Preet Vihar Maninder Singh has been tracking the rest of the culprits in different places,” said Omvir Singh, DCP, east.

Earlier on Sunday, cops had confronted the kidnappers near a sugarcane field at Peerpur village near Khatauli, while they were fleeing with the doctor in a WagonR car. On seeing the cops, the men drove into the field, plunging almost five feet into a pit. The car’s tyre burst in the process but the kidnappers had managed to escape, leaving the vehicle behind.

Since Sunday’s encounter, a cat-and-mouse chase began between the cops and the kidnappers. However, this only made the game more dangerous. The kidnappers became more careful and discreet in their actions. The doctor’s life was also at risk. Instead of going easy, the Delhi Police turned on the heat, with joint commissioner Ravindra Yadav himself going to Meerut to lead the operation.

With the kidnappers’ family members in detention and all of the accused having been identified, it was unlikely that the criminals would have risked killing the doctor. Their priority was now to get out of the mess.

On Wednesday afternoon, the cops again got a whiff of the criminals’ whereabouts in Shatabdi Nagar, Meerut. A posse of cops surrounded the area. The kidnappers tried to flee with the doctor in a car but it got stuck near a rail gate while it was closing. The car, another WagonR, was also damaged. Another shootout ensued but the doctor was finally rescued around 5 pm.

Sources in the Meerut police said at least 25 Delhi Police teams have been stationed in west UP for the last 10 days after the first ransom call was tracked to Daurala.

They said some of the other accused have been identified as Sushil, Gaurav Sharma, Vivek (also known as Modi) and Pramod. Sushil is the brother of the main conspirator, Anuj.

Source: Times Of India

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