After ten agonizing days, the tale came to a tragic conclusion when the body of Sharath Kumar, son of an Income Tax officer was found in a stone quarry Manchanabele dam in Bengaluru. Ten days prior on September 12, Sharath had left the house stating that he was going to show his friends his new motorcycle.
Later that night at 10 pm, his parents received a video message through WhatsApp where a scared Sarath stated that he had been kidnapped and that the kidnappers were demanding 50 lakh rupees for his safe release. Failure to comply would also mean that the criminals would come after his sister too.
The family immediately contacted the police, who started a massive search for the boy and his kidnappers. As the story circulated on social media, many raised doubts about the nature of the kidnapping. Some commentators felt that Sharath had actually ran away from home, and was playing out a hoax in order to secure some money
But the reality was different. Vishal, a neighbourhood friend of Sharath’s, was found to be a link between the boy and his five kidnappers. Using the automobile engineer’s love for bikes, Vishal lured out Sharath by saying that a friend was going to take his new Italian bike for a ride. When Sharath reached the rendezvous point near a housing complex, the other four conspirators instead had him bundled into a car, where the video message was recorded.
They had hoped that the money would paid without any issues and they would divide it and be settled. But soon the news spread over social media, and the police started tracing calls and using facial recognition to find the missing boy. The plans allegedly went haywire when Vishal, the mastermind, visited Sharath’s house, after which he ordered that Sharath be killed. Vishal had discovered that the family had filed an FIR instead of straight up paying the ransom.
The greed was gradually overcome with the fear of the consequences if caught. So, they strangulated Sharath in a car and then tied rocks to the body, dumping it in a lake in Ramohalli. The next day they found the body floating, and buried it in the stone quarry instead.
The police have arrested four of the five culprits – Vishal (21), Vinay Prasad alias Vicky (24), Karan Pai (22) and Vinod Kumar V (24), while a manhunt for the fifth absconding accused, Shanta Kumar, is on the way.
Reports also suggest that Sharath was already dead by the time the FIR spurred the police into action. It is now hoped that once the fifth conspirator is arrested, Sharath will receive justice.