Chennai police sent a 20-year-old US-based female tennis player and four others to prison after she allegedly hired them to kidnap and assault her boyfriend two weeks ago. A senior officer probing the case said the tennis player Vasavi Ganesan, who is studying psychology in US, tasked four friends to kidnap her boyfriend after she had a minor scuffle with a commerce graduate in his early 20s, K Navith Ahmed, at a Chennai park.
Both of them were in a relationship and on May 6, they met in Chennai as Vasavi, a former national under-14 tennis champion was in the city on holiday. When they visited a park near Anna Nagar on the same day, Navith clicked a selfie with Vasavi and subsequently, he refused to delete the photo. They had a heated argument. Navith allegedly snatched her phone too and refused to give it back.
However, Vasavi who was agitated after the incident soon told Bhaskar and three other friends, whom she had befriended on social media, about what had happened between her and Navith.
“She allegedly asked them to teach Navith a lesson. The four of them decided to kidnap and torture Navith in a bid to retrieve the phone. On the night of May 9, four of them waited and intercepted Navith’s bike when he was on his way back home after work,” the officer said.
At around 11.30pm on May 9, according to police, Gokul of Nungambakkam and Abishek of Arumbakkam — who were the among the four, intercepted Navith’s bike and threatened him.
“At knifepoint, they took away his bike and kidnapped him on their own bike. They made him sit between both of them and two others followed them on another bike. At one point, they stopped the bike and beat him up badly. They snatched his expensive wristwatch and cell phone. Moreover, they had also called Navith’s friends and demanded Rs 2 lakh for his release,” the officer said.
After his friends refused to take the gang seriously, they fled the scene leaving Navith on the road. It was only the next day that Navith managed to inform his parents about the incident and filed a police complaint.
After the complaint was filed, police started tracing call records and CCTV footage and stumbled up on the registration number of the bike that was used to kidnap Navith. “Soon after we traced the vehicle, whereabouts of Bhaskar, son of a police inspector in the city, was revealed. Others were also soon arrested,” the officer said.
After the arrests were made, Vasavi who tasked others to do the crime told the police that her only intention was to retrieve the phone, which was allegedly with Navith.
But police had evidence of Vasavi following her friends who had kidnapped Navith. Police also said that she was in the vicinity when Navith was assaulted.
“We didn’t know the reason initially. Only after tracing the vehicle used for the crime and arresting two, including Bhaskar, we learnt that it was Vasavi who asked them to do the crime,” the officer who was part of the probe team said.
Vasavi competed at the junior nationals and Asian Junior circuit tournament, as well as at the Rendezvous de Roland Garros, reaching the semifinals of the French Open junior wildcard event in 2017.
She was ranked in the national senior list (at 347) till March 2018, before she took the US collegiate route, enrolling at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. She then moved to the Eastern Florida State College. Earlier this month, Vasavi played in the NJCAA Division I national tennis tournament.