Bhubaneswar kidnapping: Gang used social media to trap teens

Bhubaneswar: Commissionerate police on Monday cracked the kidnapping of a minor boy in Bhubaneswar by busting a criminal gang and arresting five of its members.

It has come to fore that the accused used to target teenagers by laying traps on social media.

The gang was arrested for allegedly kidnapping a 17-year-old minor boy for ransom in Bhubaneswar on February 26.

The accused have been identified as Gopal Krushna Mohapatra, Subhraj Behera, Soumyaranjan Moharana, Abhijit Mishra and Sidhharth Mohapatra of Puri district.

Addressing a press conference, Police Commissioner YB Khurania today revealed that the minor was kidnapped by the gang after their plans to trap another victim failed.

The gang had demanded a ransom of Rs 11 lakh from the family to the release the minor boy.

Police said Gopal Krushna Mohapatra, a BTech graduate was the mastermind while other members of his gang were mostly engineering and ITI students.

All the five members of the criminal gang were staying at a rented accommodation in Bomikhal.

“It was only after an intense operation by a team of Commissionerate police that lasted for nearly 96 hours, the victim was rescued,” said Khurania.

According to Khurania, the gang used latest technology and used to trap their victims by creating fake Facebook accounts in the name of girls.

As per their modus operandi, the gang used to chat and call their victims to any isolated location for a meeting. Later, they used to kidnap the victim and demand ransom from respective families.

On February 26, the gang had kidnapped the 17-year-old minor boy while he was returning from his tuitions in Bhubaneswar.

Though the minor was not their ‘actual target’ they kidnapped him after their real target, sensing trouble, did not turn up as per their previous chats on social media.

The gang after kidnapping the minor boy had made a ransom call to his family, who then had lodged a complaint with Chandrasekhar police on February 27.

“It was challenging for police as our concern was safe return on the minor boy. The gang was frequently changing SIM cards and handsets and eventually as per plan a ransom of Rs 2 lakh was paid and the boy was released after 2 hours of the payment,” said Khurania.

Khurania further informed that after the boy returned to his home, special teams started further investigation to nab the miscreants behind the kidnapping.

Senior police officials informed that the girl, who used to chat with prospective targets and believed to be the girlfriend of the prime accused Gopal Krushna, has been identified.

Rs 1.07 lakh, a Maruti swift car, a motorcycle, five mobile phones, and a laptop have been seized from the gang.

“We are trying to ascertain the criminal antecedents of the gang members and further investigation in this connection is on,” Khurania added.