Five men will today be appearing in a city magistrate’s court to be charged with the murder of kidnapped Enmore businessman Rajendra Singh and according to a police source it was telephone records that ensured that all the major players were arrested.
Stabroek News was reliably informed that the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) recommended that the five men be charged with murder and that a sixth suspect be released. Late yesterday afternoon, police officers transported a huge file to the chamber for legal advice to be given on the way forward. Police over the weekend were granted an extension to detain the men up to late last night.
The police source told this newspaper that the suspected mastermind, who has been identified as “Pumpkin,” is among those to be charged. It was explained that “Pumpkin” was a close friend of Singh and his family and was a frequent visitor to the businessman’s home.
“Pumpkin,” investigations have revealed, was exposed to information that a close relative of the businessman had sold a property in the city for millions of dollars. The man apparently became greedy and later plotted to kidnap Singh so that he could get his hands on some of the money from the sale.
According to the official, police in ‘C’ Division did their best to follow up on every lead given. The official said that phone records were the police’s best asset in this case and they followed every lead in this regard.
The official said that one of the numbers led the police to a woman at Yarrowkabra but it turned out that the woman’s phone had been stolen some time back and she was released after being held. “The police had to work with everything they had. Even if it appeared insignificant and took them far places, they still had to follow it up,” the source said.
Stabroek News was told that among those to be charged are the man who drove Singh’s car moments after he was snatched and one of the two gunmen. The other gunman, identified only as “Tall Man,” remains at large and the police say they are leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of him.
Based on what this newspaper was told, some of those in custody only became involved in the scheme after Singh had been kidnapped. They apparently wanted some of the money and made ransom calls to the man’s wife. They were eventually arrested based on the numbers they would have used to place those calls.
According to the police source, the man who was released was arrested after one of the numbers was traced to him. Investiga-tions later discovered that it was his friend who made a ransom call using his phone. The friend is among those who will be charged today.
Stabroek News was told that the detained men were arrested in separate locations in the city. Four have given confession statements, while based on what the fifth man said it was clear that he had some knowledge of the kidnapping.
This newspaper was told also that the police were able to recover a warhead from a tree near to where Singh was found dead and it had fresh blood on it, suggesting that he was killed in the Le Repentir cemetery, where he was found.
It was explained too that the murder is the main focus now because it is not only the most serious charge but also because it cannot be tried along with any other matter.
What remains unclear is why Singh was killed before any money was handed over.
Friends of the family had told the media that Singh and his wife were closing their business around 7 pm on April 5, 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.
Shortly after the kidnapping, the wife was contacted and a $50M ransom was demanded. The demand was later reduced to $25M.
Police gave a different version of events, stating that investigations indicated that Singh was in his vehicle, PFF 982, in front of his business place when his wife observed two men entering the vehicle, which then drove off. The car was later found abandoned on the Goedverwagting Rail-way Embankment.
This newspaper had been told that Singh had been moved from house to house in the villages of Plaisance, Sparendaam and Goedverwagting.
The police had denied receiving information that Singh was being held in an abandoned house at Goed-verwagting and detailed the actions taken by the ranks subsequent to the kidnapping.
In a press release, the force said that on April 7, the police searched four houses of the relatives of a family at Plaisance but nothing of evidential value was found. Then on April 8, further searches were conducted on the same four homes in addition to a fifth home belonging to another family member, also at Plaisance, but again nothing suspicious was found. “On the very Tuesday (April 8) the police received information that the kidnap victim was in a house in the Goedverwagting Squatting area and searches were conducted on the target house and two others in the squatting area, as well as an abandoned ice factory at Claybrick Road, Goedver-wagting. However, nothing of evidential value was found,” the police said.