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Key Khadim’s kidnap man in custody

A Haryana native who had surrendered to the CBI in an arms case in Gujarat has turned out to be a key player in the abduction of Khadim’s owner Partha Pratim Roy Burman 11 years ago, police said.

Akhtar Hossain from Mewat district of Haryana was allegedly part of Aftab Ansari’s gang that had abducted the shoe baron on the morning of July 25, 2001, while he was heading for his company’s godown on CN Roy Road in Tiljala.

“Hossain was a key member of the gang and in constant touch with Aftab Ansari, who had been monitoring the abduction from Dubai,” said a member of the Calcutta police’s Special Task Force team that is questioning Hossain.

Roy Burman was dragged out of his car, forced into another vehicle and whisked away to a hideout in North 24-Parganas. Hossain, the police claim, was responsible for arranging the logistics for the abduction and ensured a shelter in Nepal for Happy Singh, one of the gang members convicted of the crime.

Hossain’s name figured on the list of the six accused shown “absconding” by the CID in the kidnap chargesheet. Four, including Ansari, have been sentenced to life for the abduction. The Alipore court will frame charges against four others on Friday.

In his early 40s, Hossain had surrendered to the CBI in Gujarat late last month after the agency had threatened to attach his properties in the arms case. The sleuths stumbled upon some Calcutta connections of Hossain while questioning him and referred the case to the city police.

“It was during Hossain’s interrogation at Lalbazar by officers of the Special Task Force of Calcutta police that his role in Roy Burman’s abduction was revealed,” said an officer.

The probe revealed that Hossain had first met Ansari and his associate Asif Reza Khan, who later died in an encounter with cops in Gujarat, while the three were lodged in Tihar Jail in 1995.

“They spent two-and-a-half years together. The duo impressed upon Hossain to join the jihad,” said an officer. “Early in 2000, Asif Reza Khan had visited Hossain’s house at Sahapur village in Haryana’s Mewad district and persuaded him to go to Pakistan for arms training.”

Within months, Hossain came to Calcutta and then proceeded to Dhaka by bus. He obtained a fake passport in Bangladesh and left for Karachi.

“He returned to India in 2003 and established contacts with activists of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India in Uttar Pradesh before visiting Nepal. During all this, Hossain was in regular touch with Aftab Ansari,” said an officer.