Two abducted businessmen rescued in UP after toll official hears cries for help

Two businessmen based in Gurugram’s Sohna were rescued by the Gautam Budh Nagar police in western Uttar Pradesh on Monday evening after being kidnapped by abductors who left them in an abandoned car after a high-speed chase, the police said.

The chase followed an alert sounded by an employee at a toll plaza who noticed the abducted men in the car, with their hands and legs tied, and heard their calls for help, and called a police control room (PCR) team.

“One of our PCR vans was alerted by the employees at Dadri Toll Plaza that a certain car might be carrying abducted persons. The van started chasing the car and at Bilsuri Bypass road in Bulandshahr, we found that the abductors had left the two businessmen behind and fled,” said Ajay Pal Sharma, senior superintendent of police, Gautam Budh Nagar.

The abducted men were identified as Siddhartha Jain, 36, who owns a jewellery shop, and Praveen Garg, 42, who runs a cloth shop in Sohna market. Both are residents of Ward 14, in Sohna. “We both are friends and we both dabbled in money lending. Small shop owners from villages in the vicinity used to borrow money from us after mortgaging jewellery,” said Jain.

The preliminary investigation suggests the two men were abducted by another jeweller named Gaurav Soni, who had borrowed money from them, police said.

The two businessmen had dealings with Soni , a resident of Haryana’s Tauru who also owns a jewellery shop. Soni has been identified by Jain as the one who abducted and extorted Jain and Garg.

“Soni visited us for a mortgage against jewellery and also took financial help from us. He often visited us for professional reasons and was a friendly man,” Jain said.

Jain and Garg were taken by two men in a black Toyota Etios on Monday afternoon and driven through the Kundli -Manesar-Palwal Expressway in Haryana, and then the newly-opened eastern peripheral expressway towards Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. The PCR team was near the Dadri toll plaza waiting for a VIP convoy when it received a call from Somveer Singh, a security officer at the plaza, at 4.30pm.

“The car had stopped a few metres before the plaza and one person stepped out to purchase a ticket. However, the rear gate also opened for a few seconds and I heard a faint cry of bachao, bachao. I immediately informed the police,” said Singh.

Manish Kumar, a constable who was part of the team that gave chase, said the police responded quickly to Singh’s call. “We immediately took a U-Turn from the plaza and started chasing the car. Meanwhile, we alerted the PCR van stationed at Sikandrabad in Bulandshahr. About 15 km from Dadri Plaza, we found the car was stranded at the roadside, on Bilusri Bypass road. The two abductors fled, leaving behind the two abducted businessmen on the rear seat,” said Kumar.

On Monday, Soni called Jain and Garg and asked them to come to his warehouse in Tauru for a business deal. They were to receive a payment that has been due for a long time. When Jain and Garg reached the warehouse, they saw Soni and two men drinking. They were offered water and were asked to wait for the payment, Garg said.

Soni and one of his friends returned after ten minutes along with two more men, who looked like bouncers, according to Jain. He has alleged that Soni ordered Garg and Jain be held at gunpoint and be beaten. The other men then beat Jain and Garg with sticks and the butt of a revolver, said Vijay Anand, station house officer, city police station, Tauru.

Jain identified one of the men working with Soni as Hari, another common acquaintance.

Anand said Soni and his men demanded payment from Jain and Garg, and threatened to kill them if they tried to raise an alarm. “He [Soni] demanded Rs 5 crore from them and the jewellery they had kept as mortgage, and asked both to return it to him. Soni asked Hari to collect the money and return,” said Anand.

At Jain’s shop, a salesman handed over ?60 lakh worth of gold. Garg’s family members gave a bag that had ?1.5 crore worth of gold. The bags were taken by Hari , said Jain. “Hari worked for Soni and most of the time, used to be with him during his meetings. Soni had decided to kill both of them [Jain and Garg] as they had identified them [Soni and his associates],” Anand said.

Both abducted men suffered injuries. Garg has been admitted to a private hospital in Gurugram and Jain is undergoing treatment at home. No arrests have been made in the case.

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