Cops now investigating accused’s links to larger child trafficking racket

A 25-day-old boy has been rescued by Pune city police from the clutches of kidnappers who intended to sell him for Rs 4 lakh. During the kidnapping, the accused also killed the child’s mother.

Police have arrested four persons, including three women,in this case. Investigations are on to find out if the accused are a part of any child trafficking racket.

The deceased has been identified as Madhu Thakur (22), a resident of Vaidwadi in Hadapsar. Her husband, Raghunandan Kedarnath Thakur (23), a native of Uttar Pradesh, has filed an FIR against the accused at Hadapsar police station. He works as a labourer.

Cops have arrested Nikita Sanjay Kangne (30), Chandrabhaga Krishna Udanshu (35), Laxmi alias Pinky Balaji Jadhav (19) and Akash Krishna Udanshu (19), residents of Ramtekdi in Wanowrie. Their accomplice, Maya More, is said to be on the run. Chandrabhaga and her son Akash helped the accused in destroying the evidence.

According to the police, Kangne hatched the whole plan. Four years ago, she had attempted to kidnap another child, but no complaint was filed by the parent as the child was found.

Another accused, Jadhav, is an orphan, who hails from Nanded. She had come to Kharadi three months ago in search of work. However, after working for two months, she wanted to go back to Nanded due to certain arguments at her workplace.

While she was going through tough times, she was found by Kangne’s husband at Kharadi bypass. He brought her home saying he would look after her and also get her married. However, Kangne, whom police suspect to be active in surrogacy cases, pursued Jadhav to become surrogate mother, but she refused. Later, she convinced her to donate eggs, which she did at an in-vitro fertility (IVF) clinic at Viman Nagar. Kangne earned Rs 20,000 from this deal out of which she gave Rs 5,000 to Jadhav.

Police officials informed that Kangne spotted the pregnant victim when she was walking around Vaidwadi. She approached her pretending to be an anganwadi worker and promised to get her delivery done at a government hospital “that would enable her to get money under various schemes for pregnant woman”.

The victim’s husband said, “After the birth of our child, Kangne and Jadhav frequented our house claiming to be anganwadi workers and promised to give a polio dose for our son. Around 11 pm on Friday, she took Madhu and the child under pretext of visiting a hospital for the purpose. But Madhu did not return.”

Thakur then lodged a complaint with the police around 4 am on Saturday after searching for Madhu around Vaidwadi. Police sub-inspector, Hanumant Vaman Shinde, who was on night duty, showed presence of mind by registering a case of kidnapping that pushed the investigation.

A team led by assistant police inspector Hemant Patil from the detection branch swung into action and nabbed the accused within 10 hours.

ACP (Wanowrie division) Ravindra Rasal, said, “Kangne took Thakur to a dingy room opposite her house at Ramtekdi. With Jadhav’s help, she strangulated her to death. Then, they bundled the body in a bedsheet and a mosquito net and hid it under the cot. ”

Senior police inspector, Vishnu Pawar, incharge of Hadapsar police station, added, “The accused live in the same locality. They had kept the boy with them. We have received information that they were in the process of selling the child for Rs 4 lakh. Investigations are on to find out if they are a part of any larger child trafficking racket”.

Police have arrested the accused for offences under sections 302 (murder), 201(destruction of evidence), 342 (illegal confinement), 363 (punishment for kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The accused were produced before a holiday magistrate court on Sunday.

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Court rejects bail plea of woman in murder and kidnapping case

PUNE: A sessions court in the city has rejected the bail application of a 23-year-old woman who, along with two other women, is facing charges of murdering another woman, Madhu Thakur, and kidnapping the victim's infant baby in the Hadapsar area in June this year.

The bail application by accused Maya More was a third attempt to seek such relief from the court.

Additional sessions judge L L Yenkar cited the statements recorded by Nikita Kangane, one of the co-acccused, and three witnesses while observing that there was prima facie evidence to show Maya's direct involvement in the commission of the offences which are serious in nature. "This is not a fit case to enlarge the accused on bail," the court said in an order recently.

Raghunandan Thakur, the victim's husband, had lodged a complaint with the Hadapsar police on June 18 stating that Nikita and Laxmi alias Pinky Jadhav had visited his house around 11am on June 17 and asked Madhu whether she had administered pulse polio dose to her new born son. Offering her help, the two women took Madhu and her child along with them. However, Madhu did not return home till late night.

Subsequent police investigations revealed that Madhu was taken to Nikita's house where she was strangulated to death around 2.30pm on June 17 and her child was kidnapped. Nikita was arrested on June 18 and she recorded her statement admitting that Madhu was kept confined in her house and she herself along with Laxmi and Maya committed the murder by strangulating Madhu.

The police had also recorded the statement of witness Samir Shaikh who had seen Nikita, Laxmi and Madhu going to NIkita's house and Maya joining them later. Shaikh told police that the same evening he had seen Nikita and Laxmi hurriedly leaving the house and Laxmi was carrying a child with her. "The witnesses statement clearly indicates the presence of the present accused (Maya) at NIkita's house at the time of incident and also indicates Maya's involvement in the offence," the court observed.

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