VELLORE: Barely 36 hours after a 54-year-old realtor-cum-financier was abducted for a ransom of `50 lakh, the Vellore district police rescued him and arrested three persons, including an engineering graduate.
The four special teams constituted under DSPs J Shankar (Ranipet), V Mathivannan (Katpadi), C Karupannan (Arakkonam) and G Panneerselvam (Vellore) acted swiftly and saved Gopi Chettiyar of Walajapet during the early hours of Sunday from a thatched hut in Gangapalli, on the outskirt of Chittoor.
The police teams tracked down the prime accused, M Palanivel (24) of Arcot, who had masterminded the kidnap, to settle a debt of `15 lakh. “He borrowed `8 lakh from Gopi Chettiyar on interest to admit his sister in a medical college. The debt mounted to around `15 lakh. To settle his debt and meet his financial needs, he engineered the kidnap plan and executed it with his friends,” said DSP Shankar.
Palanivel along with six others followed M Gopi Chettiyar, who was riding a bike from Muthumandapam to his house at Walajapet on Friday night. They intercepted him at V C Mottur and abducted him in a car around 8 pm and took him to Gangapalli in Chittoor. “The abductors made a ransom call around 10 pm to the victim’s brother Raju,” said Superintendent of Police of Vellore P Vijayakumar. Immediately after the ransom call, the victim’s family approached the police. Acting swiftly, the special teams conducted searches in and around Walajapet and Ranipet. “There was a lull on the following day (Saturday) after the abduction. However, the second ransom call from the abductors helped the police zero in on the main accused,” said the SP.
The police team nabbed Palanivel near Walajapet. On inquiry, he confessed to the abduction and spilled the beans. Based on the information, two special teams carried out a pre-dawn rescue operation and rescued Gopi Chettiyar. “After getting the information, the special teams immediately rushed to Gangapalli and stormed the thatched hut where Gopi Chettiyar was held captive and rescued him. The police teams also arrested two persons, while three of their associates managed to escape,” said the SP.
The duo, later identified as S Rajagopal (22), S Vinod (25) of Chittoor, were Palanivel’s friends. Police intensified the search for their associates. “We will take suitable action against the owner of the cell phone shop, who gave the SIM card to the youth without collecting proper documents. They used the SIM cards to make the ransom calls,” said a senior police official.
The Walajapet police registered a case against the trio and remanded them in the Vellore Central Prison for Men.