The Inside Story-
NEW DELHI: Delhi Police were on Tuesday investigating the 'human trafficking' angle in the case of the kidnapping of 18-month old Ishaan from Maharani Bagh and also searching for a woman called 'Sonia'.

Sources said that there was a gang nicknamed 'Pakkad' in western Uttar Pradesh, whose modus operandi was to use maids in Delhi to abduct infants and have those maids hand over the kids to the kidnappers there. They in turn would sell the children or make ransom calls to the parents.

They added, "We had arrested Sonia in 2009 in a similar case in East Delhi where she picked up a child after working in a house for a few days. Thereafter a call was received from Etta (Uttar Pradesh) demanding ransom money. This could be the same gang or a similar one". In Ishaan's case, no ransom call has been received yet and we suspect that child could have been kidnapped for selling, said an officer.

Explaining the modus operandi of 'Pakkad', an officer said "They usually simply assign a female gang member the duty of taking up employment as a maid,

Police also believe that Seema (20), who fled with the child on Sunday evening, has not given her real name to employer Vikram Singh. "The Singhs also made a mistake by not insisting on her address or identity papers before employing her," gaining the employer's trust, and then disappearing with the child at a pre-decided and opportune moment". Sonia, according to the sources, was out on bail after her arrest in 2009 from New Ashok Nagar.

In Ishaan's case, this was the second or third time when Seema was trusted with taking the child out alone. The child was taken in a pram, which was also missing and police were yet to recover it. "We suspect that the child was kept in the pram which is a secure environment for him. Seema possibly met a gang member who was in some vehicle. Otherwise, if she had wheeled Ishaan in a pram or taken him in a public vehicle, there would have been eyewitnesses," said a police officer.

Later in the day, police claimed to have found a mobile charger among Seema's belongings which suggest that she had a mobile phone. "But she did not provide any mobile phone number to Ishaan's family, which by itself raises doubts about her. Also, till now we have not found any family in East of Kailash who had employed Seema. Prima facie, it appears to be a premeditated plan," said a senior police officer.

"The police are at a disadvantage as there is no documentation or contact of Seema. Several teams have been formed and they have been dispatched to Jharkhand as well as the NCR region where some leads have been developed," said joint commissioner of police (south) Amulya Patnaik.

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