"We were tracking him through his phone location"
An Indian software engineer, Ravi Singh, aged 31, from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, was eventually arrested after he allegedly staged his own abduction trying to avoid an arranged marriage.
Police say Singh asked his parents for Rs 5 Lakh as a ransom which was part of his plan to escape a marriage his parents had arranged for him to take place on April 23, 2019.
His reason was that he wanted to marry his girlfriend, a student at Delhi University and was not happy marrying someone he really did not want to.
As part of his self abduction, Singh sent a text message to his family.
Then, Singh travelled around different states of India since April 19, 2019, in a bid to avoid being traced by the police.
Singh was living with his friends in a paying guest (PG) accommodation in Sukhrali, Sector 17.
On Saturday, April 19, 2019, he had given out wedding invitations to them. He told them he was leaving for Jhansi to attend his wedding.
Police say his friends said that he did not look too happy.
The techie did not reach Jhansi for the wedding and instead, his parents were notified with a text message from Singh’s mobile phone that he had been kidnapped along with a ransom request for the Rs 5 Lakh.
Muhammad Akil, the commissioner of police, told Hindustan Times:
“Singh boarded a bus from Iffco Chowk to Dhaula Kuan and later boarded a bus to Chandigarh.
“On his way, he sent two text messages to his father and one to a cousin.
“The father, who was busy with wedding arrangements, contacted the Gurugram Police.
“Singh’s mother broke down upon hearing the news and was hospitalised.”
On Sunday, April 21, 2019, Singh’s father met with police at Gurugram. Vivek Kundu, station house officer of Sector 18 police station said:
“We got suspicious as, during technical surveillance, no other number was operational at the same spot and despite demanding ransom money, no place had been fixed for the same.”
Then, a team of eight police officers with Kundu leading the investigation into the case spread across different cities including Delhi, Haridwar, Kurukshetra and Chandigarh.
Two officers managed to track the location of Singh’s mobile phone, as Kundu explained:
“We were tracking him through his phone location. It was difficult to track him as he kept his phone mostly switched off.”
On Wednesday, April 24, 2019, Singh was arrested during his ‘abduction’ when he was going to pick up his clothes from the PG in Gurugram.
Singh called his cousin who resides in Noida in the afternoon from his phone. He then was going to return to his PG after meeting him. Police tracked the phone which was switched on and him.
Kandu said that Singh would be remanded in custody, while they re-trace his steps, checking his mobile phone to “ensure no other person was involved” in the crime.