GHAZIABAD: A 24-year-old Snapdeal employee who was missing since Wednesday evening returned home today, claiming to have escaped from her kidnapper's clutches.
She called up her dad aboard a train from Panipat in Haryana.
With some details of the episode still clothed in mystery, the Ghaziabad superintendent of police Salman Taj Patil said the police would investigate the case and quiz her later.
He said Deepti Sarna was not physically harmed.
"We will probe as to how she had ended up in Panipat. We are very sure she has not been physically harmed. She's fine," the SP told reporters here.
Senior Superintendent of Police Dharmendra Singh along with other officers will question the girl about the incident, Patil said.
Deepti went missing at 8.30 pm on Wednesday. She engaged a shared auto outside the Vaishali metro station. According to police, Deepti was on her way from the metro station to the old bus stand of Ghaziabad where her father Narendra Sarna, a resident of Kavi Nagar, was waiting to pick her up.
Deepti's father said today that she called him up in the morning and told him that she was on a train in Panipat and was coming back to Vaishali.
"She told me that she would get down the train at Vaishali, but I told her I would come to the New Delhi railway station to pick her up.
"I don't know how she managed to escape. She called me up from the phone of a co-passenger in the train," he told reporters here.
TIMELINE OF A TENSE 36 HOURS
Here's how the events unfolded:
8.30 pm, Wednesday: Snapdeal executive Deepti Sarna gets off work and flags down a shared auto at the Vaishali metro station to go home, 8 km away. Normally, she takes the metro but decided to take an auto that day.
8.45 pm: The shared auto breaks down. So she gets into another one. There are three passengers already in it. One of them is a woman.
9 pm: Deepti ought to have been home by now. Parents begin to get worried.
9.10 pm: Deepti senses that the auto has taken a roundabout route. As the auto passes the Hindon river bridge, she makes a phone call to her father. The parents hear her shouting at the auto driver for taking the wrong route.
9.20 pm: The phone falls silent. The men in the auto pull a knife and order the woman passenger to get off. Deepti is blindfolded and taken to the Rajnagar Extension area and from there to an undisclosed location. The drive lasts three hours.
9.45: In panic, Narendra Sarna goes to the Ghaziabad police. Within an hour, almost 200 cops launch a search for the girl.
Midnight, Wednesday: Deepti is fed and treated respectfully.
Thursday: Deepti is kept blindfolded and shifted from place to place, to locations she has no sense of. They travel by auto, motorcycle, on foot. One location seems like a sugarcane farm. The men do not speak much and fetch food at intervals.
* Friday morning: She's still blindfolded and the captors take Deepti to a railway station and leave her there. She doesn't know where she is. She's boards a train to get away. Two stops along, she realises she's passing by Narela station. So it must have been Panipat where she managed to get away from her captors.
* 8 am: She begs a fellow passenger to let her make a phone call. She calls up her father, tells him she's safe and on the way to Vaishali. Narendra Sarna says he will go half the way to New Delhi railway station to pick her up.
* 8.45 am: She's down at the station and calls up her father from a public call office. They are reunited.
9.30 am: The returning father-daughter duo are intercepted by a police party on the way to Ghaziabad to ask some questions. She's exhausted, so they let her go.
10 am: Deepti's home.