Cops seeking TT nationals over suspected staged kidnapping

The local police are seeking two Trinidadian nationals who are suspected to have helped fellow countryman Sawak Maraj to stage his own kidnapping after arriving in Guyana as part of a plot to collect the ransom.

“…One time he [Maraj] is saying he knows them [the suspects] and the other time he saying he doesn’t know them. So, we haven’t ruled out as yet if he indeed staged it,” acting Crime Chief Paul Williams told Stabroek News yesterday.

Stabroek News was told that in 2001, Maraj reportedly staged his own kidnapping in his homeland, where his family was asked to pay a TT$200,000 ransom for his safe return.

Sawak Maraj

Williams said up to last evening, Maraj and another suspect remained in custody. The other suspect was identified as a Guyanese minibus driver who allegedly picked Maraj up from the airport and transported him to the Madewini Resort, where he was eventually found by police.

With police searching for the two other suspects, Williams said measures have been put in place to ensure that they do not leave Guyana legally. “We have already put systems in place to ensure that they don’t leave, legally, that is; to say if they left by any other means, that we can’t determine,” he said.

One of the men arrived in Guyana on Tuesday, while the other arrived on Wednesday. They are said to have made the reservation at the resort for Maraj on Thursday.

Maraj, 33, a chemical engineer of Lot 131 Sandyways Fairways, Maraval, Trinidad, arrived in Guyana on Friday morning around 7 am on a Caribbean Airlines flight, on the pretext of having an interview for a job here

However, about three hours after his arrival, his parents were contacted by an unknown person, who indicated that their son was in custody in Guyana and a sum of money was later demanded for his safe release. A photograph of Maraj, who is seen sitting with a cutlass being placed to his neck, was also circulated online.

After being alerted, the police launched an investigation and searches later led them to Maraj at the Madewini Resort. He was reportedly found sitting comfortably on a chair drinking juice in the company of an alleged accomplice.

Stabroek News understands that after arriving in Guyana, Maraj was reportedly picked up from the airport and taken to the resort. Investigators were able to target the Soesdyke-Linden Highway during their search after tracking the number used to contact Maraj’s families.

The ongoing investigation is being spearheaded by ranks of the Criminal Investigation Department’s Major Crimes Unit.

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