A 25-year-old accountant, abducted a fortnight back, was found murdered on Tuesday in Kanpur dehat district of Uttar Pradesh, even as a string of such incidents in recent days has prompted the state police chief to warn district officers against any laxity in handling kidnapping complaints.
The body of Brajesh Pal was found from a dry well in village Kanha Kheda, Devrahat, police said, adding Subodh Sachan (35), a truck owner and key accused in the case, was arrested.
The incident came just days after a 14-year-old son of a grocer was abducted and killed in Gorakhpur. The opposition, which has been attacking the Yogi Adityanath government following the killing of eight policemen by the Vikas Dubey gang, cited the incidents as yet another example of the alleged poor law and order situation in the state.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to Brajesh Pal's family. He directed the officers to consider invoking the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against the accused and fix responsibility of policemen in the case.
Facing flak, the state Director General of Police (DGP) Hitesh Awasthi issued directives to all district police chiefs asking them to ensure there is a prompt probe in kidnapping complaints and the victims are safely rescued. A statement issued here by the police department said that the DGP's directives, which are routine, included immediate registration of FIR and spot inspection by senior officers.
The DGP said that no laxity will be tolerated in such cases and added that if it is alleged by victim's family that kidnapping was done for any particular motive, it should be mentioned in the FIR. The directives said that teams of senior officers should be constituted to work out such cases and within 24 hours photographs and details of victims should be sent to other states also for their help, if needed.
"An eye should be kept on those involved in such incidents in the past and surveillance should be used for this," the DGP said adding that interrogation's video recording, polygraph, brain mapping and NARCO analysis should also be conducted after following legal ways. He said that for working out such incidents, help of NGOs such as anti-human trafficking, child line and other organisations could also be taken.
Reacting on the DGP directives, Samajwadi Party spokesman Sharvendra Bikram Singh said, "It is laughable that DGP has to issue directives for checking kidnapping. It's already part of the police training and their job. It seems the the government is confused how to control the law and order," he said.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wrote to Chief Minister Adityanath alleging that kidnapping incidents are increasing rapidly in Uttar Pradesh.
"Law and order is deteriorating. At this time, it is the responsibility of the police and administration to take action in such matters with promptness and efficiency," she said. She raised the matter of Vikram Tyagi, a businessman from Ghaziabad who has been missing for almost a month. Tyagi's family suspects that he has been kidnapped, Priyanka Gandhi said.
SP National President Akhilesh Yadav said, "there is no fear of police in minds of criminals and encounter policy of the state government has failed." In the Brajesh Pal case, his family alleged that police didn't take his kidnapping seriously.
However, the police claimed that he was murdered hours after he was kidnapped. Superintendent of Police (Kanpur Dehat), Anurag Vats said that the surveillance team played a key role in cracking the case. Pal, a resident of Bhognipur, was kidnapped on the intervening night of July 15 and July 16.
"The arrested accused Subodh Sachan used to regularly call to Brajesh whom he texted to come at a place to have a liquor party. They consumed cold drinks but the victim's cold drink was laced with intoxicants," the SP added. Pal lost consciousness and Subodh strangulated him and dumped the body in a dry well in Devrahat area, he said.
After disposing of the body, Subodh had made a ransom call to his family to clear his debt. He, however, dropped his idea to make further ransom calls after witnessing police's alertness, the SP added. During questioning, he confessed to his crime and even guided police to the dry well, the officer said.
In the Gorakhpur case, three policemen, including a sub-inspector, have been suspended for alleged laxity, Senior Superintendent of Police Sunil Kumar Gupta said. The SSP said sub-inspector Digvijay Singh and constables Pradeep Singh and Surendra Tiwari of Pipraich Police station have been suspended for carelessness in handling the case.
Police had nabbed the kidnappers on Sunday night itself and during interrogation, they disclosed that they had killed the boy soon after kidnapping him.
On the information provided by the kidnappers, the boy's body was recovered. The Uttar Pradesh government had on Friday suspended four police personnel, including an additional superintendent of police, for laxity in the investigation into the kidnapping and murder of a 28-year-old lab technician in Kanpur.