Inside Stroy
AHMEDABAD: This intriguing tale of friendship which involved the staged abduction of the best pal's girlfriend may not have been explored yet by Bollywood. But it has happened in real life. Not only did a man help his friend elope, but he ran away with the girl and put her up in a hotel to shield the real boyfriend from suspicion! The dramatic bluff - spurred by love and friendship - was busted by Gandhinagar police officials.

According to Mansa police officials, Riddhi Patel (18) a resident of Heerawadi in Bapunagar, was reported missing by her father, Rajesh Patel, on Friday. "Patel got a call from a man who identified himself as Amjad Khan Pathan," said a Mansa police official. "He told Patel that he was holding his daughter captive and wanted Rs 5 lakh to release her. Patel did not believe him as Riddhi had been to her maternal uncle's residence at Ajol village near Mansa. He called her uncle who confirmed that Riddhi had not been back."

Patel then filed a complaint with Gandhinagar police. Usha Rada, deputy superintendent of police, Kalol division, told TOI that the case was taken on a priority basis by investigators. Five teams, including one from Ahmedabad crime branch, were formed for the search.

"The teams worked day and night and secured conclusive proof from technical surveillance that she was with someone," Rada said. "We kept watch on a bus coming from Patan to Ambikanagar and nabbed Ajay Mali, a youth from Bapunagar, who was accompanying Riddhi."

Riddhi was unaware of her own abduction. Investigators said that the plot was hatched by Riddhi's lover Jagdish Yadav, 25, a resident of Heerawadi. Yadav lives across Riddhi's house and the two fell in love. However, Riddhi's father vehemently opposed the union and asked her to keep away from Yadav. Meanwhile, Yadav's wedding was fixed for May.

"Yadav met Riddhi in private and urged her to elope with him. Riddhi refused initially but agreed later to the scheme," said BN Dave, inspector of Mansa police station. "Yadav however feared that if he and Riddhi go missing at the same time, police might get suspicious. So Yadav entrusted his friend Ajay with the responsibility of creating a ruse. Ajay went to Mansa on his bike and picked up Riddhi as agreed and went to Nadiad on Friday afternoon from Ajol."

Yadav called Riddhi's father and demanded Rs 5 lakh as he planned to elope with Riddhi with the money. However, before his plans materialized, the duo was caught by police, and on Saturday afternoon he too was apprehended. Investigators said that while Yadav does not have any stable job, Mali works with a private firm in Ahmedabad.