The sensational saga of the kidnap of a city-based businessman on Sunday and his dramatic escape from the clutches of kidnappers in the middle of the night, has turned out to be a case of kidnap-for-ransom by a person who owed money to the businessman.

The Police arrested the main accused and two others reportedly involved in the kidnap the next day itself and have launched a hunt for six other abettors in the crime.

Yesterday's report in Star of Mysore was based on the first information given by the Police and other sources and as such, there were some discrepancies.

It was reported in yesterday's SOM that the businessman T. Prabhakar Shetty, aged 55 years and a resident of #225, 8th main, Gokulam, who is also the Treasurer of Sri Vivekananda Educational Institution (SVEI) in city, and head of Mysore Chit Fund, was allegedly kidnapped from Sanman Hotel in Lashkar Police limits yesterday afternoon. He was reportedly held captive at a furniture shop in Mandi Police Station limits from where he managed to escape.

However, it is now learnt that Prabhakar Shetty was kidnapped from near his farm house and held captive in a furniture shed at Door No. 1665, Uppinakeri, 1st Cross in Mandi Mohalla near Shree Talkies.

Dramatic escape

Late in the night, the two persons who were supposed to keep a watch on Shetty, got into deep snooze after booze. Shetty then managed to untie his hands and escaped by climbing over the almirahs placed in the shed. Through a gap between the stack of almirahs and the roof, he jumped onto the roof of a nearby house (Door No. 1664) which caused a noise that woke up residents in the neighbourhood, who mistook Shetty to be a burglar. But on seeing him injured, wearing only undergarments and shoes, they were convinced with the explanation given by Shetty and guided him to Mandi Police Station nearby in the wee hours of Monday.

The Mandi Police, who swung into action, arrested Lingaraju, 37, Suresh, 30 and Shivu, 38 from the furniture shed.

Police Commissioner's statement

A press statement issued by the City Police Commissioner states that Shetty, who left his home at 10.30 am on Sunday saying he would go to his Mellahalli Farm House in Bidarallihundi village on Bannur road, had neither reached the farm house till 5 pm, nor returned home, according to a 'missing person' complaint lodged by his son Dr. Sachin T. Shetty, at V.V. Puram Police Station at 5 pm.

Dr. Sachin also stated in his complaint that his father's mobile phone was switched off, which was unusual and his Volkswagen Vento car too was missing.

The Police Commissioner stated in the press release that considering the case as a serious one, he formed several investigation teams from various Police Stations of the city and initiated widespread measures to trace the missing businessman. A green coloured Maruti Omni (KA-09, N-5259) was found lying upside down a little distance from the Mellahalli farm house belonging to Shetty, but its owner was not to be seen.

The Mysore District Superintendent of Police too was alerted, who formed five investigation teams and along with the City Police teams, searched the lodges, farm houses, stand-alone houses and other places, apart from checking all the vehicles at the check-posts on the roads leading out of the city and the district.

Prabhakar Shetty is said to have made a call from his mobile phone to his son Sachin between 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm, saying that he was in danger and to arrange for money, after which the call got disconnected.

Sachin then lodged a complaint at the Mysore South Police Station at 10 pm, according to the press statement, which further states that the main accused Lingaraju was an old acquaintance of Shetty, who had borrowed money from Shetty and unable to repay the amount, had kidnapped Shetty with the help of a supari gang and demanded ransom.

It is said that the miscreants who came in the green-coloured Maruti Omni, hit Shetty's car from behind, waylaid him and after pushing him into the Omni, tried to flee. But the driver lost control of the vehicle which rolled into a field beside the road and turned turtle. Shetty tried to escape from the abductors. But they caught him after a chase, dragged him to his car (Vento) in which he had left the key and drove away to the furniture godown.

According to the press statement, Lingaraju and his accomplices intended to take Shetty out of Mysore, but owing to the Police nakabandi at all the check-posts, they held him captive in the shed. Shetty managed to escape and went to Mandi Police Station, who then arrested Lingaraju and two others.

Demand for Rs. 10 cr. ransom

Lingaraju, who reportedly kidnapped city businessman T. Prabhakar Shetty on Sunday, is said to have demanded a ransom of Rs. 10 crore for his safe release, despite the kidnapper owing money to the businessman.

After holding Shetty captive in the furniture shed belonging to Lingaraju, he is said to have made a call to Shetty's son Dr. Sachin from Shetty's mobile phone, demanding Rs. 10 crore ransom. Later when Shetty spoke to his son, he did not mention about Rs. 10 crore, but only said, "arrange for some money," after which the phone was snatched away from him and was disconnected. After this, no more calls were received by Shetty's family members and the phone was found to be switched off.

Kidnapper is an old acquaintance

Lingaraju, who is said to have kidnapped Prabhakar Shetty, was an old acquaintance of the businessman. Lingaraju's relative late Venkatagiri Gowda was a friend of Shetty. Hence, Lingaraju knew a lot about the financial dealings and assets of Shetty and had availed a huge sum of loan from him which he could not repay.

It is said that Lingaraju, who runs a bar and restaurant in Naganahalli village, Mysore taluk, intended to prevent Shetty from demanding repayment of loan by threatening him and hence the kidnap drama.

Supari for kidnap

Following heavy losses in business, Lingaraju of Naganahalli allegedly hatched a plot to kidnap Prabhakar Shetty, for which he is said to have given supari (contract to kidnap) to a notorious kidnapper in Kushalnagar town of Kodagu district. The Police arrested Lingaraju and two others yesterday and have launched a hunt for six others reportedly involved in the crime. Police teams have been sent to Bangalore and Kodagu, it is learnt.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore