Patna : The domestic help of six-year-old Ankit, who he allegedly kidnapped April 12 from outside his Patna school, was remanded in five-day police custody after he was produced in a court here Thursday. The accused claimed the boy was still alive and had not been killed as he had said earlier.
Balram Paswan, who used to work as a domestic help in Ankit's house, abducted the kindergarten student outside St. Paul's School in Gaighat locality here last month.
"Paswan has changed his statement by saying that Ankit was not killed by him and that the boy was with another abductor Sanjay Rajak," a police official said Thursday.
Police said that Paswan told the police that he had made his earlier statement under pressure from Rajak for a ransom of Rs.1.5 million.
Sources in police said that two special police teams were sent to an undisclosed place to recover Ankit. "The police are concentrating on tracing the boy following Paswan's disclosure that he is with Rajak," a police official said.
Ankit's mother Poonam Devi is overjoyed. "I know my son will return safely." Poonam Devi had been inconsolable since Wednesday afternoon after news came that Ankit had been killed.
Ankit's father Manoj Kumar Gope, a small-time businessman, who also runs a beauty parlour, also hopes that his son is alive.
"I will accept the fact that my son is killed only when his body is recovered by police," Gope said. "I received a call from Balram who demanded Rs.1.5 million for my son's return. If he had killed him, why would he demand money?"
A relative added: "Balram's changed statement is a miracle for all of us because we have been praying for Ankit's safe recovery."
But this is not the first time that Paswan has changed statements after his arrest in Muzaffarpur district Wednesday. In the last 24 hours he has changed statements four times.
After arrest, he was taken to Chapra where he had claimed that the boy was buried. But Ankit's body is yet to be discovered. Later Paswan was brought to Patna by police for interrogation.
State police chief A.R. Sinha told IANS over telephone that it was not proper to conclude that Ankit was killed unless his body was recovered.
According to officials, there were over 2,000 cases of kidnapping in 2006 alone in Bihar. Earlier this year, the Patna High Court had directed the state government to trace the 144 children and 581 women who had gone missing since 2001.