Cops doubt girl's kidnap after arrest of four

KUALA LUMPUR - Police "rescued" a 14-year-old girl, whom her parents claimed was kidnapped two weeks ago, with the arrest of four suspects who later led authorities to her aunt's house in Perak where she has been staying all along.

The confusing saga has prompted police to relook the case with no one being crossed off the suspect list.

Sungai Buloh OCPD Supt Junaidi Bujang said Rajendran Chandrawasi, 50, lodged a report on April 28, claiming his daughter Ramani Karunaneethi had been kidnapped on April 23 while on her way to school and that he had been asked by the kidnappers to bank in RM10,000 (S$3,830) into an account to ensure her release.

"In his statement, Rajendran claimed he had done his own probe and had identified the men who took his daughter. He claimed that one of them was a friend of hers. He later claimed that his daughter's friend had threatened to kill him after he lodged a report," said Supt Junaidi.

Following up on Rajendran's lead, officers tracked down the men to a rest stop parking lot along the North-South Expressway at 2am on Friday. Supt Junaidi said the officers tried to question the men but one of them pulled out what appeared to be a gun and threatened the officers. They sped off, driving over a police officer's foot, prompting them to fire two shots at the men in the silver Kancil.

A brief chase ensued, ending in the arrest of three men and a woman. Supt Junaidi said checks on the car registration number revealed that it was a fake plate and that the Kancil had been reported stolen from Sitiawan.

"Two of the suspects were the men whom Rajendran claimed to have kidnapped his daughter. After questioning, they led us to a house in Taman Damai, Air Tawar, Perak, where we found Ramani in good health at around 6.30am the same day," he said.

However, the case took a strange turn when Ramani said she had been staying there temporarily with her aunt and was totally un­­aware of what had been happening.

"Her parents claimed they had tried calling her and her aunt after they were told Ramani was kidnapped but they couldn't get through. However, they made no attempt to find out whether she had indeed been kidnapped. They also did not alert police that she had been staying in Perak.

"We are curious how this came about. We don't know if there was a kidnapping or if it was just an attempted extortion," he said.

Police are questioning the four suspects, aged between 19 and 28, as well as the girl's parents.