MORE THAN 36 hours after she disappeared in Ghaziabad on her way back from work, Snapdeal executive Dipti Sarna returned home Friday, telling police that her abductors had set her free.
Sarna called her family in the morning to tell them she was on a train from Panipat in Haryana en route to New Delhi, police said. Sources said that while the 24-year-old had not been harmed physically, the circumstances of her abduction and release are still under investigation.
“We recorded her statement after she returned home on Friday and are trying to identify her abductors,” said Ghaziabad Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Dharmendra Singh.
However, Singh added that there were many question marks over various aspects of the abduction case, based on what Sarna has told police so far.
“The abductors told her that they had been tracking her movements for nearly 14 months. They also knew her favourite brand of chips. But she told them that her name was Sneha. We asked her how could they not have known her name for 14 months?” Singh said.
While maintaining that the police was not questioning Sarna’s version yet, Singh said that each aspect of her statement was being verified. “We are going by what she has told us and verifying each aspect. We have not counter-questioned her. She has not been able to tell us where they had abandoned the autorickshaw in which she was allegedly abducted. There are a lot of things that need to be examined. We are giving her some time to rest,” he said.
According to police, Sarna called her father on Friday morning from a mobile phone that belonged to a co-passenger on the train. “Around 6 pm, we received a phone call from an unknown number. It was Dipti. She told us that she was fine, and asked us not to worry. She was on a local train to New Delhi and had crossed the Narela station. She told me she would reach New Delhi Railway station and asked me to pick her from the Vaishali metro station. We had to tell her to stay near the Ajmeri Gate side so that we could quickly pick her up. She called us again after reaching New Delhi,” said Narendra Sarna, the executive’s father.
Recounting how events unfolded over the last 36 hours, Sarna told her family and police that she had been abducted near Raj Nagar Extension area while on her way home on Wednesday night.
According to police, Sarna took a shared autorickshaw from Vaishali metro station around 7.45 pm on Wednesday. “She told us that the autorickshaw broke down near Mohan Nagar. Following this, she took another shared autorickshaw which had another woman and four men. Soon after, the driver started taking another route when Dipti raised an alarm. The other woman passenger managed to get out of the vehicle but the men stopped Dipti from jumping out. She said that they pulled her hair, slapped her once after she started screaming. She said that she was blindfolded,” SSP Singh said.
In her account, Sarna maintained that she was blindfolded throughout the last 36 hours, police said. “She told us that the autorickshaw was abandoned at some point and they moved her to a two-wheeler and later a car. They even gave her food. Late Thursday night, they left her at a railway station, telling her to board a train to New Delhi. The abductors allegedly told her that “some person” had earlier wanted to meet her. However, after the mounting pressure to find Dipti, the person declined to meet her,” Singh said.
Police are also looking for the other woman who reportedly shared the second autorickshaw with Sarna.
“We have appealed through several means that the woman should come forward but so far she has not. There are several strange facts in the story narrated by Dipti and they need to be verified,” said SSP Singh.
“Three autorickshaw drivers claimed to have met this girl at the auto stand. The drivers told police that she appeared scared and told them that she was with another women in the autorickshaw when the driver forced her to get down at knife point,” said Vijay Pratap, Circle Officer, Ghazaibad.
“One of the drivers claimed to have reached the place where the incident occurred. Other drivers immediately alerted a police team deployed nearby. When all three autodrivers returned to the spot, they found the girl had gone,” said Pratap.
He added that police have collected footage of Sarna from the CCTV installed at the Vaishali Metro station. “It shows the victim coming out alone. He cellphone was switched off at 9.06 pm and its location was then Nandgram,” said Pratap. He said Sarna made the last call to a friend in Bengaluru.
Additional Superintendent of Police, Ghaziabad City, Salmantaj Patil said that police have recorded Sarna’s statement and completed her medical test.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines