24 August, 2014 / Shawwal 27, 1435

KARACHI, July 18: A young girl was safely recovered and her four kidnappers were killed by a joint team of the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee and the Anti-Violent Crime Cell during two encounters on Thursday morning, officials said.

The shoot-out also left five policemen and one employee of the CPLC wounded, the police claimed.

Three-and-a-half-year-old Mahee had been taken away on July 13 by the family’s house servant, Rano, from the doctors’ mess in Walika Hospital where her father and mother, both doctors, worked, said CPLC chief Ahmed Chinoy and AVCC head SSP Niaz Ahmed Khoso while addressing a joint press conference.

The same night the family received a ransom call demanding Rs50 million for her release. The caller claimed that they had kidnapped the girl along with their servant. Two days later the girl’s father, Dr Sunil Dutt, lodged an FIR (525/2013) at the SITE police station under Section 365 (kidnap for ransom) of the Pakistan Penal Code. The case was then referred to the CPLC-AVCC.

The family engaged kidnappers in talks over the ransom amount. Ultimately on Wednesday evening, they agreed on Rs600,000 and it was decided that the ransom would be paid near Kashif Centre on Sharea Faisal at 3am on Thursday.

The CPLC-AVCC team was already deployed there when a suspected kidnapper came to collect the money. As he moved towards a parked car after receiving the ransom, the police challenged him. In an ensuing encounter, the suspect sustained a single bullet in his abdomen, while his accomplices managed to escape in the car.

“The wounded suspect told the police that the daughter of Dr Sunil Dutt had been kept in Neelum Colony,” said SSP Khoso. “He did not tell his name but only identified himself as Hindu. He died while being taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre,” he said.

“We were in a fix and worried about the safety of the kidnapped girl,” said CPLC chief Chinoy.

At 7am, the team of CPLC-AVCC officials reached Neelum Colony. “It is a congested locality where three- to four-storey buildings have been built on 80 yards,” said Mr Chinoy.

As the team raided a hideout, three suspects who appeared to be already alert opened fire on the team. In an ensuing encounter, the three suspects, including the house servant, Rano, were killed while five policemen and a CPLC employee sustained gunshot wounds, said Mr Khoso.

Following the shoot-out, he added, Mahee was safely recovered, four Kalashnikovs, four TT pistols and Rs600,000 were seized during the house search.

“Almost every year three to four cases of children’s kidnapping are reported in which house servants are involved,” said the CPLC chief.

He said they had time and again appealed to families to get their servants registered at their respective area police station after filling a required registration form but 90pc families did not care. He said Dr Dutt’s family had hired Rano’s services around three months ago and since he also belonged to the same community, the parents did not seek the identity card from him before hiring him.

Identity of other suspects could not be ascertained immediately, the officials said. However, the CPLC chief said, one of the deceased kidnappers was said to be ‘Babu’ — a known car-lifter who also remained involved in kidnapping of children.

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