NEW DELHI: When the white Indica drew near their white Swift Dzire, the two men holding a scared Delhi University student hostage inside got out to get their hands on the ransom they had demanded. For half an hour that Thursday night, Mohammad Rafee and Akash, fearing a police trap, had got the Indica to follow them from the original ransom drop spot at Shastri Nagar to a lonely park in Bhajanpura. When the door of the Indica opened, out stepped a child, or so it seemed. As the two parties eyed each other warily, the young hostage loosened himself from his abductors’ grip, and before they could react, gun shots rang out.
On the other side, Ayisha Falaq, 33, trembled, her .32 bore pistol still hot in her hand. The national-level shooter-cum-coach had shot one of the men on his waist, the other in his foot. She had instinctively pulled out the licensed gun she habitually carried in her purse and shot at the men who had held her 21-year-old brother-in-law Asif hostage for five hours. “When we got the ransom call, Ayisha was afraid, but insisted that it would be she who would hand over the money to Asif’s abductors,” Falaq Sher Alam, Ayisha’s husband, told TOI on Saturday.
Recalling the frantic moment, Ayisha said, “Asif was shocked to see me shooting at the men. He immediately ran towards me and held me tight. He was shivering with fear, and so was I.” Police, who had been following Ayisha and her husband, swooped in and collared the injured Rafee and Akash before they could hobble their way to the Dzire.
The cops have seized the pistol from Ayisha. “Investigation is in progress to establish whether Ayisha fired the shots in self-defence to save Asif’s life. If it is so, she will be protected under the law,” said Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner (Eastern Range).
Asif had been taken hostage by the two men earlier that night. A student of Delhi University by day, Asif earned some pocket money by driving a cab after classes. On Thursday night, he got a booking in Daryaganj and left his home at Minto Road to pick up Rafee and Akash. Halfway, they asked him to take a different route and he protested, but they brusquely told him to shut up.
“I immediately stopped the car and refused to go ahead from that point,” said the 21-year-old. One of the men shoved him to the front passenger seat and threatened to kill him. “The men laughed in an evil manner and asked me to enjoy the last moments of my life,” said Asif, still shivering at the memory.
At Bhopra border, the men stopped the car and took Asif’s wallet, only to find it held just Rs 150. Angered that their efforts had yielded so little, Rafee and Akash beat the youngster and forced him to make a ransom call to his family.
“Around 1 am we received a call from Asif’s phone,” remembered Ayisha. “Someone asked us to reach Shastri Park in an hour with Rs 25,000 if we wanted to see Asif alive.” Family members first thought Asif was playing a prank on them. But the seriousness of the situation quickly sank in and they immediately called the police control room.
“The cops asked us to go to Shastri Park with the money. They said they would deploy plainclothes men at the designated spot,” said Alam. When Ayisha and her husband reached there, the kidnappers suspected the presence of cops and drove away. Alam tailed the car, and was, in turn, discreetly followed by the cops.
Police were on the spot almost as soon as Ayisha had shot the goons. “Officer Anant Mittal, an IPS trainee, and his team arrived when the shooting was taking place,” said Joint CP Yadav. “The two men tried to escape despite being injured, but they were nabbed.” Senior police officers applauded the bravery of the woman shooter in rescuing her relative.
– “पुलिस ने कहा कि आप पैसे लेकर शास्त्री पार्क पहुंचो, पीछे से हम आते हैं। जैसे ही मैं पति के साथ वहां पहुंची, कैब में बैठे किडनैपर्स भागने लगे। उन्हें शक था कि पुलिस हमारे साथ है। हमने उनका पीछा किया, हमारे पीछे पुलिस चल रही थी।”
– “शास्त्री पार्क से कार भजनपुरा इलाके के एक सुनसान पार्क के पास पहुंची। मैंने उनसे कहा- हम पैसे दे रहे हैं बच्चे को छोड़ दो। मुझे देखकर वो रुक गए। पैसों का लेनदेन हो रहा था, तभी बदमाशों को अपने घिर जाने का शक हुआ तो वो भागने लगे। इस पर मैंने अपने पर्स में रखी पिस्टल निकाली और बदमाशों को जख्मी करने के इरादे से उनके पैर पर गोलियां चलाईं। इससे दोनों बदमाश जख्मी हो गए।”
– पुलिस के मुताबिक, किडनैपर्स ने गुरुवार रात आसिफ को किडनैप कर लिया था। वह दिल्ली यूनिवर्सिटी में पढ़ाई के साथ अपना खर्च निकालने के लिए कैब चलाता है। इसी रात आरोपी रफी और आकाश ने दरियागंज से भोपुरा के लिए कैब बुक की। उन्हें लेने के लिए आसिफ मिंटो रोड स्थित अपने घर से निकला। वहां से लौटते वक्त आरोपियों ने उसे रास्ता बदलने के लिए कहा।
– आसिफ ने बताया, “जब मैंने किडनैपर्स की बात मानने नहीं मानी तो उन्होंने मुझे गन प्वाइंट पर ले लिया। उनमें से एक सामने वाली सीट पर आकर बैठ गया और मुझे जान से मारने की धमकी दी। दूसरा हंसते हुए बोला कि अब तू अपने आखिरी वक्त में मस्ती कर ले।”
– “भोपुरा बॉर्डर के पास आकर उन्होंने कैब रुकवाई। मेरा पर्स ले लिया, लेकिन उसमें सिर्फ 150 रुपए देखकर वो नाराज हो गए और मारपीट करने लगे। इसके बाद किडनैपर्स ने फिरौती के लिए मुझसे रात करीब 1 बजे घर पर फोन लगवाया।”
– ज्वाइंट कमिश्नर (ईस्ट रेंज) रवींद्र यादव ने कहा कि आयशा की पिस्टल कब्जे में ली गई है। इस बात की जांच होगी कि क्या गोलियां डिफेंस में चलाई गईं। अगर ऐसा है तो उसे कानूनी छूट मिलेगी।