For a week, several teams from various units of the Delhi Police searched for three-year-old Jahnvi Ahuja, who had gone missing from the India Gate lawns on September 28. Jahnvi was found Sunday night walking about alone in Lajwanti Garden in West Delhi’s Janakpuri.
For the first 24 hours after she went missing, it was only the family who searched for the child. It was only when the story was prominently covered by newspapers and news channels that police swung into action and formed several teams to trace her.
Police of New Delhi district printed at least 6,500 posters with the contact details of her father on them. Two pictures of the child — in one, she is showing the mehendi on her hands — went viral on social networking sites. Her family, with the help of relatives, also started a ‘Bring Back Jahnvi’ campaign on Facebook.
Several police officers also claimed to have uploaded Jahnvi’s contact details with her pictures on their Facebook accounts. Last week, during Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi’s morning meeting, he discussed the case with senior officers and asked them to assist the local police in tracing the child. The Crime Branch and the Special Cell were also asked to join the investigation and search for the girl.
For a week, when there was no information about Jahnvi, the police commissioner on Sunday afternoon declared a reward of Rs 50,000 to anyone providing information about her whereabouts.
Hours after the reward was declared, a youth from Uttarakhand, preparing for his Civil Services Exams, called the police control room. Police said they received the call around 8 pm from Lajwanti Garden. The man informed them about a girl wandering near a park in D block.
The caller said the girl had a badge on her neck, mentioning her name as Jahnvi. The badge also had the phone number of Jahnvi’s father. That she had gone missing from India Gate was also written on it by hand.
A PCR team reached the spot and took Jahnvi to the nearby Mayapuri police station, where a senior woman IPS officer met Jahnvi and kept the child with her till her parents arrived.
When police found Jahnvi on Sunday evening, her head had been shaved by her kidnappers. Police said Jahnvi could not tell them anything about her kidnappers. When an officer asked her who had shaved her head, she replied it was her father. “We asked her where she was all these days. She said she was with her father. It appears her kidnappers took good care of her because there were no sign of injuries or starvation,” a police officer said.
Police said CCTV footage of the marketplaces around D block were examined, but there was no footage of anyone dropping Jahnvi at D block. Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Mukesh Meena said, “We are analysing all the CCTVs to find out who had kidnapped her. The investigation is on. We will decide on the reward for the person, who provided the information about Jahnvi.”