Ranjit Sehgal alias many others names; had come in contact with the syndicate due to his own lavish lifestyle and extravagant habits that he had adopted for himself. He was the elder son of a petty police officer. His frequent indulgence into drinks and damsels along with some of colleagues from his father’s police beat had always been a thorn of discussion between the father and son. Many A times it so happened that his father had to admonish his colleagues “I warn you to leave the boy alone let him understand the ways of the world”. And addressing Ranjit he will say “you young man you will not hence forth come to my office and nor will you speak to any of the people from my office, otherwise I will be myself lodging a case of vagrancy against you”.

Ranjit found it easy to extract money from small businessmen and shopkeepers. He will often threaten them with dire consequences in case of refusals. He had many a times been hauled up for petty offences but was every time let off due to his father’s influence. He knew the advantage of being the son of a   policeman and used it to the hilt to make quick bucks.

“ No one from the police force would ever want to give a bad name to a fellow officer’s son, but that does not mean your petty offences are being overlooked”, his father would often warn him, “ you should not stretch the law to such an extent that even my employment will be put at stakes”, his father pleaded.

Ranjit’s hunger for making more money eventually graduated him from petty thefts to kidnappings for ransom at a very young age. It all started when one of his schoolmates asked for him to join in an adventure self propagated by him.  “I want you to stage manage my own kidnapping to help me dig up a ransom from my own father,” this young man told him. Ranjit was only seventeen years old at that time. The design of making a neat fortune of a few thousand rupees fascinated him into it. He gave his consent to go along with the boy “I will be playing a key role in the entire episode and no one else will be involved”, Ranjit had put the first condition to the boy. “My gut feeling tells me that if any one else knew about the plan then I am afraid I will have to pull out of this. Such an exercise can be kept secret only if not many people are in the know of it”, Ranjit told the boy. “But why do you want to play this cruel joke on your Father,” Ranjit had asked the boy.

“My old man is stinking rich he is replete with cash. And yet does not pay me much of pocket money. Whatever little he shells out to me in my begging bowl is not enough to pay for my expense on my girl friends. I have to live a life of a rich man’s son.  What is the point of his earning so much if he can not take care of his one and only son” the boy carried on “I find it difficult to explain to all my class fellows that I am broke. They donor believe me that I do not possess much of money in my pocket. I must treat them very nicely every time they want to visit a pub or a restaurant; after all they are all my good friends”.

Ranjit directed the boy, “all right then we will have to play it safe. You will hide at one of the farm houses outside the city and you will not get in touch with any one till we are able to get your father pay the ransom sum demanded. But how much will be enough to ask.  How do we decide”?

“My father can afford any sum that you put a price on my head but I want only few thousand rupees. You can ask a hundred thousand to begin with. We will share it equally”. The boy knew what price to demand. “But we will have to travel to some other city to give a ransom call” said the boy.

“Not necessary.  you will have to; as I said leave the entire matter to me. I can even use the telephone at the police station to befool any one”.

“But a more crowded place will be better where they can not really point out as to who made the call.”

Ranjit took the boy to a farm house outside the city limits and did not do any thing for the next 48 hours. He wanted to build up the desperation in the boy’s parents’ mind, before he moved to make his own kill. He kept a tab on the boy’s house. He could see the restlessness growing in the house and the movement of a car ferrying a doctor to the house.  That means two days absence of the boy from his house had started telling its effect on some one’s health in their house. It could be boy’s mother, as Ranjit had seen the father of the young boy coming out of the house to take the doctor inside. Ranjit’s contact in the police could have told him if an official missing report had been lodged with any one of the police stations. But that means adding one more ally to the scheme of kidnapping and sharing the booty with him too.  Ranjit was still not sure whether the boy’s parents will even shell out the sum they had planned to ask of them.

“One Hundred thousand rupees by any standards is not a small amount”, thought Ranjit. “But it was time to make the kill before the old man actually goes to the police”, thought Ranjit, “Involvement of the police will mean they will eventually find out who the boy was last seen with”.

He rang up the boy’s residence telephone number from a public booth situated at the local bus stop, “if you want to see your only son alive and safely back with you; you will have to pay the ransom money of rupees one hundred thousand”.

“But how do I know what you are saying is true or not “said the boys’ father, “in that case you tell me which organ of your son will be recognized by you so that I can chop off the same and send it to you by a registered parcel by post”, Ranjit was sounding absolutely   ruthless when he spoke to the poor parent of the kidnapped boy.  Ranjit heard a little sob on the other side of the telephone line.

The father of the boy, a civil contractor whose business involved building roads and bridges for the government, was so pissed out. He was not reluctant to pay any amount.

“If you do no harm to my son I promise I will pay you whatever your demand is.  You will not please kill the young boy. Just leave him safe as you know that I am left with   no choice but to agree to shell out the sum demanded”, boys father had started crying on the phone. Ranjit could also hear a woman’s voice hollering from behind.

“It could be boy’s mother persuading and cajoling her husband to get her son back from the kidnappers”, assumed Ranjit.

“You will see only the dead corpse of your son if you go to police and after killing your offspring we will come for your entire family”, Ranjit had put another fear pressure on the parents.  He was ruthlessly menacing and brutally convincing when he demanded the ransom amount from boy’s father.

“I swear to all kinds of Gods that I will not go to the police. Only I request you let my son not be harmed”, father had pleaded.

Ranjit could hear the man virtually cry on the other end of telephone line. Ranjit himself wondered if he was speaking the truth. He some how believed the fact that “I have the capability to carry out the threat given by me just now on the telephone”. Ranjit somehow knew that he was prepared for any eventuality.  “Should the old man bring forces with him, I will go to the farm house and kill the boy with the small knife I had kept as a precaution in my school bag”, he had boasted  to the boys father later on when the whole episode had been exposed due to the boys’ stupidity .

The coup was managed quite easily as the father who was a big government contractor could not afford to lose his only son. He delivered the bundles of crisp currency notes at the appointed hour, in the local cremation grounds. Ranjit who had been following the old man ever since he stepped outside his house, waited till he was sure the boy’s father had not brought any policemen with him.  He then picked up the news paper wrap containing the bank notes and quietly mingled himself into the crowds that had come to the place to cremate their dear departed. He realized that he could get into any crowd without raising any kind of suspicions and eyebrows.  There were many others who looked like him. It was difficult for any one to doubt a small boy who did not appear distinct from others. He held the currency notes in his hands and loved the crispy smell and feel of so much cash.  He allowed the boy to triumphantly walk back to his freedom, making Ranjit rich by a cool fifty thousand bucks.

The fact that this kidnapping of the young boy was a self planned and stage managed show became public due to boy’s own thoughtlessness. In a drunken stupor he had had a fight with his father a few days later. In a fit of showing his anger towards his father that boy had threatened “I will again get myself kidnapped and extract more money out of you”. On persistent questioning by boy’s father, the young lad gave in. he had confessed that he alone could not have carried out such a seal proofed work had Ranjit not helped him. He also told them the amount of ransom money shared by both of them.  The contractor demanded money back from Ranjit’s father “or I will see to it that your son is sent behind the bars”, he had threatened. But he could not deny the fact that his own prodigy had mastered the entire episode, which had been an active partner in the crime against his own father. Though the whole affair had been hushed up later but Ranjit’s father had thrown him out of the house.

Ranjit’s grandmother who stayed all alone in the nearby town came to his rescue. She took a personal guarantee that “henceforth he will behave’. He was sent to pursue his further studies in city where he would live under the watchful eyes of his grandmother. “You will have to prove that I did not make a mistake in bringing you here. You will have to make every one forget about your juvenile crimes by studying hard, getting good grades and staying out of bad company and trouble’. As an added incentive she also fixed up the monthly pocket expense for him.

‘The old lady thinks I am still a small child who can be pleased by handing over of the candy bars and chocolates. The pocket money she is talking of is barely enough to meet even the cigarette expense”, Ranjit thought to himself.

She had a complete control on her purse strings. She would always keep the keys to the cash chest tied to her scarf. Ones or twice he did try to flick the key bunch while she was sleeping or otherwise busy but she had become too conscious and alert. He did not want to annoy her lest he be thrown out of this place too.

He eventually got the opportunity to get the duplicate set of keys made one day when his grandmother had gone to the temple. The locksmith had per chance been passing through their street, Ranjit called him inside, “We have lost the key bunch and if you could please make a duplicate key to the cupboard.  I shall be able to take out the additional set kept inside”. The locksmith though was suspicious ultimately agreed to make one, when he was offered double the price.

Grandmother did not suspect anything and Ranjit was also careful to take out the smaller amounts at different intervals lest she start counting the daily expense to tally the cash. Hell had broken lose one day when the maid servant while cleaning the room  found the bunch of the keys under his pillow and gave them to his grandmother  .

“What are these keys for’, she had confronted him “Why are these hidden here?”

“What keys grandma I do not know any thing about any keys” he had retorted angrily, “I need not lock anything so I do not need the keys also”, he answered.

The old lady was too smart. She tried the keys to all locks and lost her temper when she was able to open the cash chest with the set of keys.

“So you have been stealing cash in my absence. Now I know where all my money has been vanishing. I have been suspecting some foul play with my money for a long time and you have proved me correct. You are an incorrigible vagabond and I believe your father was not in the wrong when he threw you out of the house. You must pay for your sin; and I am withdrawing your pocket allowance for next one week”.

“Grandma, please do not do that”, he had pleaded, “I have never taken any large amount, and it is only some small coins that I have taken at times’.

“No amount of pleading and cajoling could thaw me”, the old woman told him, “ and as a punishment you have to hang about without  money for the entire seven days of the week I will not pay you any pocket money for your deeds”.

The punishment meted out to him by his grandmother proved a last straw in his relationship with the old lady.  He lost all respect and love for her.

“Why is it that I have to depend on others? I must find a way to make my own money”, he vowed to himself and made a promise that “very soon I will find fair or foul means of making lots of money”.