Three sisters, who were allegedly kidnapped from Singahi area of UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri district late Saturday, were recovered by police from the thickets near their village Monday night.
Police said the three were found around 11 pm. DIG (Lucknow Range) D K Chowdhary said: “We suspect the kidnappers left them in the thickets before escaping. We are combing the area for the accused.”
The three sisters, their mother and the domestic help were sitting outside their house on Saturday night when six men, on foot, arrived and kidnapped them at gunpoint. After walking some distance, they let the mother and the domestic help go while disappearing in motorcycles with the three sisters.
The father of the girls, a trader, had initially claimed that he had received a call from his eldest daughter’s number, in which the kidnappers demanded a ransom of Rs 30 lakh. However, on Monday — before the girls were found — he said he had received another call from the kidnappers who reportedly reduced the ransom amount to Rs 5 lakh. It was not immediately known whether the family had paid any ransom to the kidnappers.
“The eldest daughter spoke to his father and asked him to arrange Rs 5 lakh for their release. Her cellphone has remained switched off after the call on Sunday night,” Inspector General (Lucknow Zone) Zaki Ahmed said. Police said the call was made from Lakhimpur Kheri, suggesting that the kidnappers were still somewhere in the district.
While the caller on Saturday had identified himself as gangster Bagga Singh, the family on Monday ruled out his possible involvement in the kidnappings. “The family claimed they can identify the gangster’s voice,” the sisters’ maternal uncle said. “Bagga Singh is a native of Magha village, which is around 3 km from the family’s house. Everyone in the village knows him. My sister (the girls’ mother) and the domestic help, whom the kidnappers released after taking them along for some distance, did not see Bagga in the group. The father, too, said the voice over the phone was not Bagga’s,” he added.