Calcutta, May 4: The London-educated son of a leather merchant was kidnapped at gunpoint and whisked away in his own car from one of the city’s busiest roads on Thursday but was freed within 24 hours from Bihar.
The daylight abduction brought back memories of the kidnapping of Khadim’s boss Partha Pratim Roy Burman in 2001 — from the same stretch near No. 4 Bridge on the Park Circus connector.
Mohammad Tahir Khurshid was rescued from Bettiah, near the Bihar-Nepal border, when his captors drove into the town this afternoon.
Four people have been arrested, including Mohammad Nadeem, Tahir’s cousin who police said plotted the kidnapping. Nadeem and his friend Tanveer Alam were held in Bettiah, along with Raju Tiwari, who is believed to have joined them during their drive through Bihar.
A 9-mm revolver and a toy pistol — possibly to scare the victim — were found on the youths.
The action followed the arrest of Mohammad Tabrez in Calcutta, who disclosed to the police a stopover of the key suspect.
Like he does each morning, Tahir was driving to the Tiljala tannery owned by Trident Leather, the family’s leather company, in his Swift when he spotted Nadeem near the bridge at 11.30 am.
“Thinking Nadeem was asking for a lift, Tahir slowed down. As Nadeem opened the front door, Tanveer appeared and forced his way into the back seat before brandishing the pistol,” an officer said. The tinted-glass windows ensured passers-by did not notice anything amiss.
The family of Tahir, who graduated in leather technology from a London institution two-and-a-half years ago, lodged a missing diary when he did not return till 2 pm.
Around 7.30 pm, Tahir’s father Khurshid Alam got a call from his son’s cellphone. “It was Nadeem’s voice saying he and Tahir had been abducted,” Ajay Kumar, deputy commissioner of police, said. Another person who identified himself as the kidnapper demanded a ransom of Rs 1 crore.
The police went to Nadeem’s Topsia Road residence and collected information about the common friends of the cousins. Tabrez, one such friend, was picked up today.
Tabrez told the police that Nadeem would reach Bettiah in West Champaran around 2.30 pm, following which 15 police stations in the area were told of Tahir’s car number.
The car was intercepted as soon as it entered Bettiah bazaar. Tahir was in the rear seat, trussed up with a seat belt.