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NEW DELHI: On Republic Day eve, with the capital under unprecedented security cover for the event as well as the Asean summit and the release of controversial movie Padmaavat, two armed criminals on a bike intercepted a school van, shot at the driver and rode away with a five-year-old boy after dragging him out of the vehicle.
After the daring crime on Thursday morning, the kidnappers are learnt to have fled towards the Delhi-UP border. The van driver is recuperating in hospital.
TOI is withholding several details of the case, including the identity of the victim, to ensure the child’s safety. The crime was the first of its kind in the capital and the second sensational kidnapping this month. On January 1, a south Delhi businessman’s son was abducted from near Vasant Vihar and a Rs 5-crore ransom demanded. The family had paid Rs 4 crore to get the child released.
There were around 14-15 children in the van when the kidnappers struck around 8pm on Thursday. The vehicle was slowing down to pick up a child near a hospital in east Delhi.
After intercepting the van, one of the armed bikers shot the driver in the leg while trying to snatch the vehicle’s keys. The other stood guard at the rear of the van.
The targeted child, a nursery student, was not wearing a school dress. He also did not have an ID card on him because he was to participate in a fancy dress competition at school.
The criminals entered the van and called out the child’s name. “The boy usually sat at the front but was seated at the rear on Thursday. The child’s sister and a woman school staffer were also present in the bus,” said a police officer.
As other children panicked and screamed in frenzy, the criminals dragged the child out of the van, made him sit between them on the bike and fled.
According to the driver, the van stopped at the spot every day for a pick-up, indicating that the criminals had done a recce. The family denied having any enmity with anyone even as the shocked residents of the area complained about the deteriorating law and order.
Delhi Police said all units had been pressed into service and efforts are being made to rescue the child.