Senior executive of pharma major Nicholas Piramal Ashwini Bhatt and his driver, who were kidnapped on January 18, were traced on Saturday by the Madhya Pradesh Special Task Force along the state’s border with Uttar Pradesh amid reports of ransom being paid for the release.
The two were traced from an “undisclosed location” by personnel of the STF, which is probing the sensational kidnapping, STF sources said.
Their condition was “good”, with no signs of any injury, a senior police officer said.
“Inspector General, Gwalior, informed the family of Bhatt’s release in the morning, which has filled all of us with joy and happiness,” Vivek Raina, a close family friend of Bhatt said over the phone from Indore.
Bhatt, who is president (manufacturing) in Nicolas Piramal’s Pithampur plant near Indore, was kidnapped with driver Babulal Patel on January 18. He was returning from Gwalior to Indore after a business meeting. He had made the last call from his mobile phone near Mohana town in Shivpuri district.
Swati Piramal, director of the group headquartered in Mumbai, said: “He had been kidnapped by dacoits. He was found early this morning. The dacoits had mistaken him for somebody else and later passed him on to other groups.”
Police, however, so far have not disclosed whether Bhatt and his driver were found or rescued. All relevant information would be disclosed later, the officer said, adding they are being brought to Indore.
Unconfirmed reports said the executive was released by his abductors after being paid the ransom on Friday night. However, police have not confirmed that.
Bhatt’s car was found abandoned near a bus stand under Nihalganj police station area along with a pair of shoes, a newspaper with blood stains, which indicated the signs of struggle before abduction.