The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ransom route to new unit
- Abductors knew family could pay

A gang of four wanted to make it big in the leather business and hatched a plot to abduct Tahir Khurshid to arrange the initial investment.

The 24-year-old businessman was abducted at gunpoint from the eastern slope of the No. 4 bridge on Thursday. In a joint operation, Calcutta Police and law-enforcing agencies in Bihar and UP rescued Tahir on Friday afternoon.

“The mastermind, Mohammad Nadeem, is his cousin and he wanted to set up a leather goods-manufacturing unit with the ransom,” said Gyanwant Singh, deputy commissioner of police (detective department).

The three other youths — Tanveer Alam, Mohammad Tabrez and Raju Tiwari — also knew Tahir and had a fair idea about the family’s financial strength.

The detective department has arrested Tabrez, who confessed to the abduction plan on Friday morning, while the other three are now in the custody of Bihar Police.

“They finalised the abduction plan around 10 days ago and carried out the groundwork before carrying out the operation,” added Singh.

Everything went according to plan on Thursday as Tahir stopped his new Maruti Swift to give Nadeem a lift and Tanveer, wielding a 9-mm pistol, jumped into the backseat. Tahir was forcibly shifted from the driver’s seat and Nadeem drove the car to Bettiah, in West Champaran, on India-Nepal border.

“Tahir was very scared and he did not even try to raise an alarm and so the abductors did not have any problems in crossing the checkposts,” said Ajay Kumar, deputy commissioner (south division).

Initial interrogation of Tabrez has revealed that the gang targeted Tahir — a leather technology graduate from London — as he was close to the family patriarch Khurshid Alam, who started the family’s leather business.

Trident Leather, which has its office at 66 Syed Amir Ali Avenue, specialises in exporting leather items. The family lives on the third floor of the same building. But there was no one in the house or in the office when Metro visited the building.

“The abductors started bargaining from Rs 1 crore… So, it is clear that they knew the family was capable of paying that amount of money,” said Kumar. Police claimed that the family did not pay any ransom.

“The first ransom call came on Thursday evening and the family sought time to arrange the money. With the help of our counterparts, we caught the abductors before they could make the next call,” added Kumar.

Police learnt that Nadeem, Tanveer and Tabrez had worked in leather goods units but all three were without jobs for over three months.

“So, getting some money to start a business seems to be the objective… But we are also checking their antecedents to be sure about the motive of the abduction,” summed up Kumar.

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