In a stroke of serendipity for three men brutally beaten up and held captive at a flat in Rajasthan's Jaipur, a police team chasing an SUV robbery accused bumped into one of the kidnappers and rescued the three on Sunday.
The team, searching for the SUV taken away along with its driver around 2 am from Bhankrota area, traced the vehicle in a township on the Ajmer highway, DCP Vikas Sharma said.
"When the police team entered the township, a man was seen fleeing. He was caught and upon questioning he told police that three men were held hostage in a flat for several days," he said.
On the basis of CCTV footage and other inputs, police zeroed in on three blocks housing 600 flats, the DCP said.
Six more accused were caught from different locations in the blocks during the nearly 12-hour search operation conducted by around 100 personnel of several police stations and the anti-terrorist squad, he said. One of the accused was hiding in a water tank on the roof of the building, Mr Sharma said, adding two fire arms and 8 live cartridges were seized from them.
Malang Shah, 34 of Andhra Pradesh, Luftan, 20 of Maharashtra and Shahjad, 35 of Bikaner (Rajasthan) were rescued, police said.
Shah runs a trust in Andhra Pradesh and the accused had called him to Jaipur, promising a huge donation while Luftan and his friend Shahjad were lured into the city on the pretext of arranging bitcoins at a low price.
"They wanted to extort money from the trio. They held them hostage in the flat and had threatened to kill them if the demands were not met.
"Not even their family members were aware about the abduction. The victims had lost all hopes because they had no access to anyone," the DCP said.
He said the three men were brutally beaten and tortured. One of them was not even able to walk properly, he added.
Another senior official said the accused used to book flight tickets and hotel rooms to lure their targets.
Those who were arrested were identified as Jitendra Kumar, 21, Deepak Kumar, 22, Anupam Soni, 19, Pawan Kumar, 20, Bhawani Singh, 19, Lokendra Singh, 24 and Rahul Kumar, 19, he said.
Lokendra is from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan while the remaining accused are from Haryana.
Police officials are ascertaining whether there are others involved in the matter.