KOLKATA: A 40-year-old rice trader from Karnataka, who was allegedly called to Kolkata and then, held hostage by two other traders for over two days after a business deal apparently went wrong, was rescued by the cops from the Anandapur police station on Sunday afternoon.
The two accused traders, Md Asraf (35) and Md Riyaz (24), were arrested from West Chowbhaga on charges of kidnapping. They told police they held Mansoor Hossain hostage in order to recover over Rs 5 lakh that he allegedly owed them for three years. “It was not a typical abduction for ransom. This was the fallout of a business deal gone wrong. But the fact that the accused threatened and confined Mansoor and that his elder brother, Sawar (55), had to arrive in Kolkata amid a pandemic, seeking his release, made us prioritize the probe,” said joint CP (crime) Murlidhar Sharma. “We started a case of kidnapping and cheating and deployed a crack team.”
Police said Sawar, hailing from Banakal in Karnataka, located over 110km from Mangalore and another 266km from Bengaluru, landed at the Anandapur police station on Sunday and reported that his younger brother had been missing for the past 48 hours. Sawar, who was accompanied by an advocate, claimed Mansoor had arrived in Kolkata on December 1 and checked into a hotel on MG Road in the Burrabazar-Posta area, where he usually put up when in the city. “His brother told us that they lost communication with Mansoor on December 4 and that the hotel staffers claimed he had left. Sawar claimed that shortly, he received a call from his brother’s kidnappers demanding around Rs 6 lakh as ransom,” said an investigating officer. The east division, along with sleuths from the detective department, traced the calls to Tiljala,” said DC (east) Gaurav Lal.
Cops from the Tiljala police station kept a close watch on the Uttar Panchannagram area. “Late on Sunday afternoon, a ransom call was traced to Gorumore in West Chowbhaga and Asraf (35), a resident of Bowbazar, was caught from there. After interrogation, the accused led us to a second-floor flat situated in Gulshan Colony under the Anandapur police station, where Mansoor was kept confined. The other accused, Riyaz, also a resident of Bowbazar, was also found there. Hossain was rescued and Riyaz was arrested,” said the police.
The accused had reportedly known Monsoor for the past three years. “He had borrowed money in multiple instalments of Rs 30,000-Rs 40,000 each, from the accused whenever he took back rice from here to his state. Hossain promised to return with high interest but failed to pay even three years later. The accused then called Mansoor over to their hideout and tried to negotiate a deal. When that failed, they confined him to the flat and called his family in Karnataka to pay up,” said an officer. Police said the accused might lodge a separate case of cheating against Mansoor.