Police had been informed that murdered car dealer Rajendra Singh was being held captive in an abandoned house at Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara but ranks only visited the location hours later when he had already been removed by his kidnappers, well-placed sources say.
Sources say that had the police acted immediately on this information, Singh could have been alive today.
Efforts to contact senior police officials in ‘C’ Division (East Coast) were futile.
Stabroek News was reliably informed yesterday that a resident first spotted the businessman at the house some time during daylight hours last Monday morning. He had been kidnapped from his businessman place at Foulis, Enmore, East Coast Demerara two days prior to this sighting.
According to a source the police at the Sparendaam station were immediately contacted and provided with details on the location of the house. According to what this newspaper was told the abandoned house was located at the end of a cul-de-sac between the Goedverwagting road and the Ogle Airstrip road.
However no police rank showed up.
Later on Monday some time closer to dusk, Singh was seen being pushed down the stairway of the house. His hands were bound and there was a cloth covering his face. According to the source he was surrounded by four men who took him to a white minibus parked outside. He was then placed to lie beneath one of the seats.
According to the source, police showed up at the property some time after the man and his kidnappers had left, and they searched the building. It is unclear if the officers were able to find any useful information.
This newspaper was told that last Sunday, the police had an unusual presence in the Plaisance and Sparendaam area. These two villages are located next to Goedverwagting. Anyone travelling up the East Coast from the direction of Georgetown, will first reach Goedverwagting then Sparendaam and then Plaisance.
It was explained that the police would usually just drive through the villages on patrol several times a day but from last Sunday they lingered for some time before leaving. One resident recalled seeing the police “patrolling round and round.” During the course of this day, this newspaper was told, ranks searched a house at Prince William Street, Plaisance. It is unclear if they found anything useful at that location.
The patrols continued into the following day.
One source said that the police seemingly ignored the information about the abandoned house at Goedverwagting as they were seen patrolling Plaisance and Sparendaam that day. They concentrated more on the back of the villages which are described by many as the backdam or the squatting area.
Stabroek News was told that a tinted white car was seen driving behind the police who were on patrol.
Some time during last Monday officers had detained a man nicknamed ‘Thirty’ who was said to be of questionable character. He lives in the Sparendaam Squatting area and was arrested in that area, this newspaper was told. However residents could not say if he had been released.
Might still be alive
One resident questioned the reason behind the police delay in visiting the abandoned house and went as far as to say that the man might have been alive today if they had visited the area immediately after being contacted.
According to several security sources it is known that the police cannot solve crime alone. “If the community is helping; if a resident assists with information, why did they not act?” one security source asked before adding that an investigation into this should be launched immediately.
The source questioned too whether ranks had thought about searching the Goedverwagting area given the fact that the motor car that Singh was taken away in was found abandoned at the Goedverwagting Railway Embankment. The house where Singh was spotted is situated between the Railway Embankment and the public road.
Friends of the family had told the media on Sunday that Singh and his wife were closing their business when two men jumped out of a bus and walked into the business establishment posing as customers.
They eventually brandished weapons and proceeded to assault Singh and his wife.
The men then reportedly took the day’s earnings, demanded the keys to one of the couple’s vehicles, put Singh in the trunk, and drove off with him. One family friend said that the man’s wife rushed for another vehicle and tried to follow her husband’s captors, but did not locate them.
Police gave a different version of events, stating that investigations indicated that Singh was in his motor vehicle PFF 982 in front of his business place when his wife observed two men entering the vehicle which then drove off.
Shortly after the kidnapping, Singh’s wife was contacted and a demand for $50 million for his release was made. The kidnappers made contact with the woman on several occasions and the ransom demand was later reduced to $25 million.
This newspaper was told that the man’s family was having some difficulty coming up with the money. Based on reports the last contact was made with the man’s wife last Tuesday morning around 5 am.
As police checked phone records with the hope of tracking down the kidnappers, a woman was arrested after a cell phone number was traced to her. She was subsequently released from police custody.
Last Wednesday Singh was found dead in the cemetery with gunshot wounds to the head and his hands bound. It was a city council worker who made the discovery and the police were later contacted.
Singh was clad in his underwear and a t-shirt. Reports are that there were visible signs that the businessman had been tortured before he was killed.
Residents did not recall hearing any gunshots and it is suspected that given this and because of the fresh state of the body, Singh was shot a few hours before at another location and his body dumped in the cemetery.
A post-mortem examination revealed that he died of multiple gunshots to the head.
While police officials say that they are working around the clock to solve this crime, they say they have not yet been able to determine a motive for the kidnapping and the subsequent murder.
The man’s relatives have opted not to speak to members of the media.