Shimla: Skeletal remains of a four year old child, who went missing two years ago, fished out from a water supply tank in a posh area have not only exposed the shoddy investigation conducted by the crime branch but also put a question mark on the drinking water supply management of Shimla Municipal Corporation that was tasked to thoroughly clean all storage tanks after their was an outbreak of water contaminated jaundice earlier in the year.
Yup Gupta, the four year only child of Vinod Kumar and Pinky Gupta, was kidnapped on 14th June 2014 from Ram Bazar area of the city. The Gupta’s are a business family and a ransom was demanded for release of the child.
The primary suspects in the crime are turning out to be two youths Chander and Tejinder, who lived in the neighbourhood where the crime was committed and there is a third accomplice Vikrant Bakshi, whom the police nabbed from Chandigarh.
Preliminary media reports suggest that the boy was killed just 7 days after the kidnapping as the criminals did not find their demand for ransom being met. The ransom demanded ranged from Rs 4 crore to Rs 10 crore first by making anonymous phone calls and later by sending letters.
Chander and Tejinder were already suspects in the case but the police had failed to crack the case as no evidence against them turned up during the investigation. The investigation team is said to have sought an Narco (Lie detector test) on the suspects but they conveniently avoided it by feigning illnesses. One of the duo is also said to be a suspect in a robbery case in another part of the city.
During the investigation the name of Vikrant Bakshi, the third accomplice is said to have turned up. The police laid a trap and nabbed Bakshi. During interrogation Bakshi spilled the beans that led the investigation team to recover the skeleton from the tank on Monday.
Shimla police are said to have questioned about 600 suspects in two years but could not break the case. The Gupta’s had move the High Court and the government had moved the case from the district police to the CID branch, who have arrested the three suspects for kidnapping and murder charges.
Anirudh Singh, MLA from Kasumpati, has questioned the Shimla Municipal Corporation’s water supply clean up drive that had failed to fish out the skeleton earlier. “The MC’s claim that water tanks are regularly cleaned is a farce as this case has shown,” said Singh.
Last year, starting from July their was an outbreak of jaundice because of contaminated water supply in the city. The outbreak started from another part of the city and soon cases were being reported from the whole city that even caused the death of more than dozen people.
Taking preemptive measures the Municipal corporation disbanded drinking water supply from a scheme that was lifting water from below a site where a sewerage treatment plant had been installed. They also followed up by undertaking a massive clean up drive, all big and small water storage tanks were flushed clean and all private tanks were also cleaned up to contain the jaundice epidemic.
Many residents are in shock on learning that they have been misled by the municipal corporation for the tank from which the skeletal remains have surfaced has been supplying drinking water to a large number of residents, which include some high profile citizens.
As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post.
Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.