Mathura, 2017.01.07 (TNN/Karishma Kotwal): PM Narendra Modi might be pushing for a digital platform for monetary transactions today, but criminals in areas bordering Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have been using online platforms to run their empires.
They abduct unsuspecting businessmen from other states and receive ransom through online platforms. Since the victims seldom lodge complaints with UP police, they continue to run their operations despite leaving behind online traces of such transactions.
The modus operandi of the criminals came to the fore with the abduction of 26-year-old resident of Indore, Harish Chouhan. After being released by abductors after recieving ransom through a PayTM account, Chouhan reached Indore from Mathura in Thursday, narrating a horrific tale.
The District Secretary of Police for the Goverdhan area in Mathura (UP), Awneesh Kumar told TOI, “Several similar cases have come forward in the past few months. The victims seldom lodge complaints with us.”
The villagers call potential victims from different states and tell them that they are building a college near Mathura for which they require certain things like CCTV cameras, refrigerators or air conditioners, he said, adding that after the victim reaches Mathura, he is ushered to a secluded place in the village where he is held captive and a ransom call is made to his family members.
Kumar said that the UP police have been running awareness drives, but people still fall into the trap. “This is happening mostly because the victims are from different states and so they don’t know anything about the villagers here. They are lured by them into catchy business proposals and they come here,” he said.
The victims are so relieved after being freed from the clutches of the abductors that they flee the area and reach their city without registering any complaint at the police station, thus giving the abductors an upper hand.
“It is also very difficult to trace the accused without any physical evidence. We keep on beating around the bush and the accused get away,” Kumar said.
Chouhan, who feels lucky to have been let go, claimed that he had been taken to a village by the abductors where all the locals were involved in kidnapping and extorting money from strangers.