A businessman from Mapusa, on Monday night lodged a police complaint that he was kidnapped by a group of seven to eight persons in Nipani, Karnataka, on September 16. The builder, Tarak Arolkar, also told Mapusa police that while he managed to escape on Monday morning, his driver, Amar Dhargalkar, resident of Siolim, is still in custody of the kidnappers.

Arolkar stated, in his complaint that he left from his residence at Peddem Mapusa, on September 15 to visit his son, who is studying in Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra. While returning from Mahableshwar on September 16, Arolkar said he received a call from one ‘Yusuf’ who wanted to meet him at the Nipani toll booth in Karnataka.

‘We crossed the Nipani toll booth and had driven for six kilometres, when a car coming in the opposite direction, stopped our car. A group of seven to eight persons pulled us out of our vehicle and threatened us,’ Arolkar told police.

Arolkar said that passersby tried to intervene in the situation, but the kidnappers told them that they were policemen and nobody should interfere in the matter. Arolkar further told police that the accused persons took three finger rings and a gold chain all worth Rs 2,40,000 from his possession. He also alleged that the kidnappers took away his laptop, pistol, pistol licence, ATM cards, and two mobile phones. Four of the kidnappers then covered Arolkar and Dhargalkar’s faces, got them back into his own car and drove to an unknown location.

‘They kept us in separate rooms. Then, they tortured me at gunpoint. They also used my cell phone contacts to call up my family and friends to demand ransom,’ Arolkar stated.

On September 17, Arolkar called one of his office staffers and asked him to bring cash and a cheque book to Kolhapur, Maharashtra. As instructed by Arolkar, his staff handed over Rs 3 lakh to one of the accused. A call was then made to Arolkar’s brother who was at Shirdi, Maharashtra, to hand over Rs 10,000 in cash over to the accused who were in Satara, Maharashtra. On the morning of September 18, when Arolkar woke up, he found that three kidnappers were fast asleep. Arolkar said he jumped out of the window, ran to the highway, and hitchhiked his way to Goa. Dhargalkar, he said, continues to be in the kidnappers custody.

Acting on the complaint, Mapusa police registered offences under Section 341, 364, 364A, 342, 395, 504, 506(ii), and Section 3 of Arms Act against unknown persons. Mapusa police have transferred the case to Gandhi chowk Bijapur police station, Karnataka, for further investigation.

“We have booked a zero FIR and have transferred the case to the local police station for investigation as the offence has allegedly taken place outside our jurisdiction. It is up to them to investigate it further,” Mapusa PI Tushar Lotlikar said. Police said that a zero FIR is a FIR that can be lodged in any police station regardless of the place of incident or jurisdiction.

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