Over a month after his disappearance, the Special Investigation Team is still looking for Ajitabh Kumar, the 29-year-old Bengaluru techie who went missing while he was allegedly to sell his car to an OLX buyer.
For some time now, the investigating officers had suspected the involvement of a professional inter-state gang. Recent clues in the investigation have led the sleuths to suspect that Ajitabh was abducted by a gang which is highly skilled at covering its trail.
The SIT is now probing this angle. Sources with the investigating team say that a cellphone was recovered from a daily-wage labourer in Gunjur. Police say that this was the mobile phone used to make calls to Ajitabh before he disappeared.
Upon questioning the man who was in possession of the phone, investigators reportedly learnt that he had found the smartphone in Gunjur and had decided to keep it since it was brand new. Police claim that the man found the phone a few weeks ago.
The police have also reportedly contacted the SIM card service provider and it was revealed that the person who bought the phone knew that the CCTV footage at the store was backed up only once in a month. Hence the phone was first switched on only a month after the SIM card was bought and the potential suspect had managed to evade being caught on CCTV.
The police have launched a search operation for Ajitabh not only in Karnataka but also in the neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The sleuths are looking for a pattern and have asked the police officials in these states if cases similar to that of Ajitabh have been registered within their jurisdiction.
The police are looking into second hand car dealerships to see if any Maruti CIAZ was sold in the past one month.
Despite all the efforts made, the investigators have not gathered enough evidence to indicate conclusively that this was the dealing of a professional gang. Neither have they gathered clues to further the probe.
From Ajitabhâ€™s disappearance to the status of the probe so far
Based on the accounts of Ajitabhâ€™s roommates, the techie had gone to meet a potential buyer for his car - silver coloured Maruti CIAZ. Ajitabh had allegedly met these buyers on OLX.
According to his family and friends, Ajitabh was last seen active on Facebook at 7.22pm on the night of December 18.
Ajitabhâ€™s father says that he wanted to sell his car in order to fund his tuition for his MBA degree in IIM Kolkata.
Two weeks after Ajitabhâ€™s disappearance, the police began to suspect that persons posing as buyers on OLX may have been a part of a larger operation and had lured Ajitabh out to Gunjur, which is his last known location.
The investigating officers requested OLX to furnish information on December 22 regarding the buyers who had contacted Ajitabh. However, DCP Whitefield Abdul Ahad had said on January 2 that OLX had not responded. OLX, however, claimed that the information was mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org on December 22 itself.
Investigators found that Ajitabh was contacted by three buyers. While two of them were ruled out, it was revealed that the third buyer had used high level encryption on the system through which he contacted Ajitabh, which the cops could not trace.
The investigators then contacted WhatsApp and Google for information about Ajitabhâ€™s messages to the OLX buyer.
When none of these gave any leads, the police finally deployed drones in Whitefield, Varthur and Gunjur areas in the hope of spotting Ajitabh or his missing car. This reached a dead end as well.
On January 2, Ajitabhâ€™s father Ashok Kumar Sinha moved the Karnataka High Court demanding for a CBI probe. Ashok Sinha had told TNM that he had lost faith in the investigation teamâ€™s ability to probe the case.