Kidnapper with a meat chopper: How Delhi cops rescued two kids after three nerve-wracking hours

Their parents had briefly stepped out to buy sweets from the famed Heera Sweets shop unaware of the impending nightmare.
When the kidnapper was interrogated, he revealed that he had observed instances where parents briefly left their children in cars with the engine running.
When the kidnapper was interrogated, he revealed that he had observed instances where parents briefly left their children in cars with the engine running.

NEW DELHI: The bustling streets of East Delhi's Vikas Marg were winding down for the night, yet an eerie silence crept in as the clock struck 11:30 PM on June 28. Amidst the usual hustle, a sinister plot was brewing.

A criminal, his intent yet unclear, prowled the busy road. His eyes locked onto a seemingly abandoned car with two children inside -- a three-year-old boy and his 11-year-old sister. Their parents had briefly stepped out to buy sweets from the famed Heera Sweets shop unaware of the impending nightmare.

Seizing the opportunity, the criminal slipped into the driver's seat and told the girl child that her father had asked her to move the car. Once he had turned on the ignition, he sped off, thinking he had struck gold.

When the girl protested, the criminal brandished a meat chopper and threatened to harm her if she made any noise. The children, bewildered and terrified, were thrust into a real-life horror story.

Within 10 minutes, when the parents returned from the sweet shop, they were shocked to find their car missing. The father then dialled his wife's phone, which was with their daughter.

The moment it rang, the kidnapper snatched the mobile phone from the girl's trembling hands and answered the call. His voice, cold and demanding, sent shivers down the father's spine as he demanded Rs 50 lakh for the safe return of the children.

Panic-stricken, the parents alerted the police. The gravity of the situation was clear and the entire district was mobilised for what would become a high-stakes pursuit.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Apurva Gupta described the frantic efforts: “SHO Shakarpur with the victim's mother, SHO Laxmi Nagar with the victim's father, and two more teams from PS Shakarpur began chasing the car using technical surveillance.”

As the kidnapper weaved through the darkened streets, unaware that a formidable force was closing in on him, the tension escalated. The police, now in hot pursuit, tracked his every move. The chase stretched over three nerve-wracking hours, with around 20 police vehicles tailing the kidnapper through the labyrinthine roads of Delhi.

Desperation setting in, the kidnapper realised he was ensnared in an inescapable net. With the police closing in from all sides, he made a split-second decision. He abandoned the car in the Samaypur Badli area, leaving the frightened children behind, and vanished into the night.

Relief washed over the officers as they safely rescued the children, reuniting them with their frantic parents. Valuables, including jewellery and mobile phones, remained untouched, a testament to the kidnapper's hasty escape.

“The other district police teams, especially from the Outer North district, and the RPF, played crucial roles in this operation. Their swift actions were instrumental,” DCP Gupta commended.

Even as the night settled back into its usual rhythm, the cops held their breath, knowing that a dangerous man was still out there, somewhere, plotting his next move.

The police teams kept working for days, scanning every piece of CCTV footage—from the place where the crime began to the spot where it ended.

After days of technical as well as manual investigation, the accused kidnapper, identified as Prateek Srivastava, was arrested on June 4.

When Srivastava was interrogated, he revealed that he had observed instances where parents briefly left their children in cars with the engine running. This prompted him to devise a plan to kidnap children along with the car, aiming to demand a significant ransom from their parents.

During his time in Shakarpur, he noted the bustling evening hours near Heera Sweets on Vikas Marg, where parents would leave their cars running while quickly visiting the shop, due to the current high temperatures and humidity in Delhi.

He meticulously planned the kidnapping at Heera Sweets, having conducted reconnaissance of the area a week and four days prior to the incident.

On the fateful day, he waited at Heera Sweets for more than two hours until 10:30 pm when the victims arrived in their car and briefly left their children inside with the engine running.

Interestingly, the accused disclosed that he had planned to collect the ransom using fast delivery app services like Porter, WeFast, or Borzo within an hour of booking the service in Delhi NCR. But, when he realised the police were chasing him, he abandoned the vehicle near Samaypur Badli railway station in a dark, isolated area and fled to evade capture as multiple police vehicles were pursuing him.

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