In a pre-dawn swoop on Wednesday, three gangsters were arrested for abducting businessman Mukesh Thakkar and confining him in a central Calcutta hotel for hours.
Officers of Bowbazar police station netted the trio, including the mastermind, from hideouts in north and east Calcutta. Earlier, the trio had a narrow escape when the police stormed the hotel to rescue the trader. They managed to flee before the raid on their rooms.
The detective department had interrogated Thakkar after the American Center attack because he was the initial owner of the motorcycle used by the terrorist.
Thakkar told the sleuths he had sold his two-wheeler a long time ago and had no links with the attackers.
The police said the three goons — Javed Qureshi, better known as Chunna, Faiaz Ahmed and Mohammad Sajjad — had abducted the businessman on Friday night while he was returning to his Phears Lane residence.
Zulfiquar Hasan, deputy commissioner of police (central), said after abducting the plastic-goods trader, the criminals headed straight for the hotel on Lenin Sarani and rented two rooms.
“The employees at the reception and booking counters did not find anything wrong, as the miscreants were talking to Thakkar like they were friends. Thakkar had been threatened not to betray his alarm,” said Hasan.
The kidnappers then locked the businessman in a room and demanded a large ransom from him. They made him call his family and ask them to arrange the money within 24 hours. The gangsters rang up Thakkar’s house four times to settle the deal.
Fortune favoured Thakkar later the same night. Policemen patrolling the pavement of Lenin Sarani received a tip-off that a businessman had been kept confined in the hotel.
“They informed their colleagues in the patrol van. Together, the cops stormed the two rooms rented by the gangsters. But the trio had fled, leaving behind the hostage,” said an officer of Bowbazar police station.
“After interrogating the businessman, we commissioned some sleuths to collect more information on the three criminals, who were on the run after we rescued their hostage,” said Hasan.
The first lead came on Tuesday midnight. “We received a tip-off that Chunna had returned to the Narkeldanga area. Accordingly, an extensive raid was carried out and we picked him up,” said Hasan.
“After interrogating the mastermind, we came to know the whereabouts of the other two gangsters. Both Faiaz and Sajjad were netted from their dens in north Calcutta.”
According to Hasan, Chunna is a much-wanted criminal. “A number of cases of abduction and extortion are pending against him at different police stations. He was on the run for the past few months,” said deputy commissioner Hasan.