Monday, April 2, 2012

Abduction - concluding part

Read part 1part 2 here

As soon as Aarzoo called her uncle, he immediately contacted AT&T to track the mobile. They would then use Google street view finder to know the exact address. They had very little time before they abductors found out that the cards and jewels were fake. Manek had to be traced before that. As soon as Aarzoo had messaged him the number, the tracking of the mobile had begun. The GPS system started showing movement and his team prepared for an ambush.

They followed the navigator and after about half an hour, they spotted the guy in the peon’s clothes as described by Aarzoo. The peon was riding a moped with a bag slung across his shoulders. The 3 police jeeps turned off their lights and moved very slowly. After a few more minutes he seemed to have reached his destination. He parked the moped under a tree and walked. They were surprised that the abductors had not traveled far outside the city. Radhekrishna parked his jeep about 200 meters away from the place and decided to walk so as not to alert the abductors. They were just on the outskirts of the city in an isolated ground surrounded by banyan trees and still inside the SUV.

His team of 12 followed and the remaining 6 stayed in the 3 jeeps.  He spotted Manek’s SUV with the lights turned on. He could make out 7 people sitting in the SUV. 5 of them were masked; one was in the driving seat and one blindfolded. ‘That must be Manek’ he thought. Manek had to be safely brought out before they attacked the others or else they could kill Manek. He wondered what weapons they had. He signaled his team to wait till the time was right. He wanted the driver to get off for some reason so that they couldn’t drive away when attacked.

They had been patiently waiting for more than an hour when 6 of them including the driver got off to relieve themselves. The driver was heading straight in his direction. Good. His men dispersed in two’s in the directions the other abductors had gone. As the driver neared him, he swiftly placed one hand on the driver’s mouth and shot him point blank before the driver could even realize that he had been attacked. He dropped dead at Radhe’s feet. He would have preferred to catch the guy alive, but he didn’t want to risk the guy raising an alarm.

‘One down, five to go’ he cheered himself. He wondered how his team was doing. There were silencers in everyone’s revolvers so he would not hear any gun shots. He saw the lone tall guy in the SUV with Manek, peeping out of the window. As if on impulse he fired a shot that hit the guy on his forehead startling Manek.

‘Two down’ he counted. He hoped Manek would realize that help was around and not do anything stupid. He waited 5...10...15… minutes had elapsed and not a single sound heard. What were his men up to? He pressed a little buzzer in his pocket that sent signals to all his men that Manek was alone in the car. Suddenly he heard gun shots in all directions. One of his men came running to him and informed him that two of the abductors had been killed and only two left now. They had spotted one of the policemen and fired at him. He had been injured in the left arm. The guy in the peon’s uniform who had collected the bag was running away from the place and the other was running towards the SUV. Radhe ran towards him and distracted the abductor so that he would not harm Manek. Radhe aimed for his thigh and shot him. He fell writhing in pain and was finally caught. He wanted someone alive to know why Manek had been abducted. His team managed to catch the other one firing at his feet.


Manek’s driver was later found gagged and bundled semiconscious in the boot. When questioned, the remaining two abductors revealed that they had planned to kidnap Manek and get him to draw money from his ATM and also gather all the jewels in his house. They had thought it would be better to kidnap Manek instead of his wife or children, because they would be defenseless in his absence. It had been their first attempt at kidnapping, and they had not expected a woman to be so smart and level headed in times of a crisis!

Manek beamed with pride at his wife who had shown a remarkable presence of mind. Had she not intercepted his message and alerted the police, he could have been a dead man today. Mobile tracking had virtually been the abductors undoing. If things hadn’t moved as quickly as it had! He shuddered to think of the outcome.

It was almost 7 in the morning.

“Ready to board your flight jaan?” he asked her with a smile.

“Hmm…but only the flight of fantasy”, she replied with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.


Abducted -part 2

It was almost 11.30pm and the crowd had thinned out at the restaurant. There were not more than half a dozen customers who were also about to finish and leave. The assistant manager Hari noticed that his boss was not there.

“Ramu, have you seen bade saab?” he asked a waiter.

“He must have gone home sir, he was saying something about bhabhiji and the kids leaving for Rajasthan in the morning. He seemed to be in a hurry to close this place.”

It had happened quite a few times before that his boss had left without informing him and Hari had ensured that the place was cleaned and locked up before he left. He didn’t suspect anything and finished his job and left after locking the place.


At home, Arzoo was worried. Manek’s mobile was not reachable and no one was picking the phone at the restaurant. It meant that the place was closed for the day. She called up Hari. He told her that Manek seemed to have left a little early without informing him. She was contemplating whether to call up her brother-in-law when she received a call.

“Aarzoo, it’s me. I am stuck in a meeting so I’ll be late. You may have to postpone your trip. Now listen carefully to what I say, write it down if you want. Your hira, moti and manik are not in the safe. They are in another cupboard. I am sending my peon to the house, give him your Lakshmi bank and cooperative bank credit and debit cards and the shining necklaces. I need some money urgently for a deal. Radhekrishna jaan.”

Aarzoo silently wrote down every word of what he said. Something didn’t sound right. Why did he say that hira, moti and manik are not in the safe? They had not kept any precious stones either at home or in the bank. Why did he want the credit and debit cards of the two closed accounts? He knew there was no money in them. The only shining necklaces that were in her possession were the 1gm gold ones that she had got polished just yesterday to take them with her on vacation. The original gold ones were already in the safekeeping of the bank locker as she would be away for more than a month. What deal was he making at 1 am in the night? Moreover, he did not have a peon. It was also strange that he said radhekrishna before disconnecting. He always said ‘bye jaan’.

 So something was surely wrong. Was there a hidden message? She read it again and again, until it struck her! Her husband had been abducted! She had always referred to his watch as "hira" since it was diamond studded, his SUV as "moti" as it was pearl white and he was "manik". She had named the trio as hira, moti and manik. So he had been abducted in his own car and he was not safe. Radhekrishna was her uncle who worked with the police department. Manek had discreetly suggested that she should take her uncle’s help.

Without wasting time, she called up her uncle who was still on duty. Her uncle suggested that she note down the IMEI no on her mobile by dialing *#06# and activate the GPS and slip the mobile into the bag of jewels that she would hand over to the peon. She did as instructed and a 15 digit serial no flashed on her mobile screen. She noted the number and messaged it to her uncle. Thankfully GPS was already active; she set the GPS locator to update the location every 10 minutes. She switched her SIM with a spare unused one, in case they called again and changed the mode to silent and kept it in the jewels bag.

Just then the bell rang and she found a scrawny looking man at the door. He identified himself as the peon supposed to collect the bag. She handed it to him trying to carefully note his features. He was a thin guy wearing a khakhi peon’s uniform. He sported an unshaven look.

After he had left she made a mental note of the time taken for him to reach to her house. Her husband had called at 1am and it was 1.40am when the peon reached. So her husband was about 30-40 minutes away from her. She called her uncle and gave him all the details about the call, the peon and mobile. Then she walked to the puja room and lit the lamp and said a small prayer for her husband’s safety.


Manek was worried. Had Aarzoo intercepted his signals correctly? Will she manage to send him some help? Will he ever be able to see his wife and kids? What if the abductors realize his plan and kill him? So far they had not suspected anything when he spoke on the phone. He couldn’t be sure. All he could do was wait.

 read part 3 here...

Abduction- part 1

Manek looked at his 18K gold watch studded with diamonds. It was almost 10pm. Today being Saturday had been a very hectic day and customers were still queuing outside his posh restaurant, “The Sovereign”, waiting to be seated. He realized it would take more than a couple of hours before he could get back home and sighed at the thought.

 He had wanted to get home early tonight. His wife and daughters were leaving for their hometown in Rajasthan tomorrow early morning, and he wanted to spend some time with them and see them off to the airport himself. They would not be back for at least a couple of months till the school reopened for the next year.

He signaled a waiter to usher the waiting people into the lobby and put a ‘CLOSED’ sign on the main entrance. He had just taken out his mobile to make a call to his wife and ask her if she was done with the packing when he felt a cold metal touch his neck.

“Stay put, Manek, don’t turn around. Just walk out of the restaurant with me. If you dare to raise your voice I’ll shoot you.”

Manek felt the gun being lowered and did as he was told. He didn’t want any gunshots in his restaurant. He didn’t want to be killed. He had a perfect life and he didn’t want some maniac to end it all. Once outside, the man led Manek to his Fortuner and asked him to get in. He was taken aback to see four masked men already seated inside his vehicle.

‘How did they get in?’ he wondered but didn’t ask.

One of the men blindfolded him and the vehicle sped away to an unknown destination. The noise of the vehicles whizzing past had slowly died down and it started to get quieter.

Manek tried to recollect who among the last few customers had looked suspicious. Most of them had looked like families. There was one large family of about six adults and an equal number of children, and a couple of nuclear families consisting of two adults and one or two kids. There had been a few single men, he remembered seeing about five or six of them, but he had not thought any of them could be the man who accosted him outside the restaurant. There was a bearded guy, tall and wearing a blazer, another one, fat with a paunch who was with a stubby guy. Three of them looked like they had just landed high profile jobs and were out celebrating. He imagined the guy who had put a gun to him could be the bearded guy because he was alone and had been tall enough to put his gun on his neck.

“Arre mamu, look a gold watch. I’ll take this one, I saw it first.”

Manek felt a sweaty hand remove his watch and another one searching his pockets.

“Kalu, see what I found, his wallet is heavier than him”, a second guy was screaming with delight.

“Hey leave something for us too”, the other two chorused and they all burst out laughing.

“Don’t worry boys, you all will get your share. Manek babu will ensure that you do, won’t you Manek?”, said the one who had brought him out and then snatched his mobile,“ That’s a pretty expensive mobile.”

Manek chose to remain silent. ‘So there are five of them, who could it be? No, six, he corrected himself. Someone is driving the car. ’ he thought. He wondered where his driver was and whether he was also involved in all this. The abductors had been in possession of his vehicle so maybe his own driver had set up the trap. He tried to recall if he had any enemies, anyone who would have wanted to kidnap him. He drew a blank. He had been on very good terms with his family, friends, and competitors.

Manek wondered whether anyone at the restaurant had noticed his absence and alerted his wife or the police.

 Read part 2 here
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