The owner of a snack-manufacturing factory and three of his associates abducted his neighbour’s son and sought Rs one crore ransom to make up for the losses suffered in business, police said.
The four later panicked and killed the victim, 18-year-old Vishal Gautam. They dumped his body in the Gomti River in Sitapur.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Rahul Raj said the four accused have been arrested and identified as Dheeraj Maurya, Rajesh Gautam, Mukesh Rawat, and Ashish Rawat — all in their forties.
The four confessed to the crime during interrogation.
The DCP said that SDRF teams have been deployed to search the body.
According to the official, Maurya owns a snack-manufacturing factory in Maal and lives in Dubbagga. He is a neighbour of the victim, Vishal Gautam, whose family is into real estate business.
The other three accused also have small business units.
Giving details of the case, DCP Raj said that Vishal, a resident of Dubagga, went missing on the night of September 25. His sister, Sandhya, lodged a case with the police the next day in which she said that Vishal had gone to Maal before his disappearance.
A team was sent to the spot mentioned by Sandhya and it found Vishal’s bike parked outside Maurya’s factory.
In the meantime, the family got the ransom call from Vishal’s phone demanding Rs 1 crore. The caller threatened the family with dire consequences if the police were informed.
The kidnappers made another ransom call, a couple of days later, through WhatsApp and during conversation with the family, agreed to lower the ransom money to Rs 50 lakh.
This time, police used electronic surveillance to trace the miscreants and nabbed them from Maurya’s factory,” the DCP said.
“Maurya confessed that his factory was on the brink of closure due to heavy losses. He tried taking a bank loan to revive the factory but could not get one because his credit score was poor. He then chalked out the plan to kidnap Vishal as his family owns property worth crores, hoping that with the ransom, he would be able to save his factory,” Raj said.
The accused also confessed that they killed Vishal by first injecting him with poison and then strangling him, he said.