Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has ordered an inquiry into a case involving the kidnapping of a Surat-based businessman who was released in Patna after his father "paid" Rs. 25-crore as ransom (probably the biggest ever to date) allegedly at the residence of a Bihar politician.
Hanif Hingora, a textile and infrastructure building magnate, told reporters in Surat that the abductors had called him to Patna to pay the ransom for the release of his son Mohammad Sohail Hingora.
Sohail was abducted on October 29 by an inter-state gang of criminals from Daman and held hostage in Bihar, about 2000km apart, till his father paid the money.
"I was taken to 40 different places before the payment was made in Patna. After his release, what my son told me about his experience proves that a big gang is operating under the patronage of politicians and the police," Hanif said.
Hanif said he paid the ransom at the house of a ruling JD(U) minister he did not name. He has alleged that Sohail was kept in the house of a police officer in Saran district.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday ordered an inquiry into the affair and said nobody will be spared if guilty, whatever his position.
“I am interested in knowing the name,” he said when asked about Hanif’s allegations.
"Earlier, the incident was linked to the ruling party. Later, some ministers and leaders were suspected to be involved in it. And now, it is said some influential persons are behind the case," he said.
While the Bihar police admit that Rs. 9 crore was paid to the abductors, Hanif said he could prove that he paid Rs. 25 crore.
A senior police officer, wishing anonymity, said the involvement of politicians can’t be ruled out in this case because it was no easy task to bring the abducted businessman from Daman to Patna, a distance of about 2,000 kilometres.
The Daman police claimed they have arrested three persons of the seven criminals involved in the crime—two from Jharkhand and one from Chapra in Bihar.
"Ample cooperation by Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Orissa and Maharashtra police helped us catch the trio," Daman superintendent of police Atul Kumar said.
Atul said investigations had yielded some vital clues and efforts were on to arrest the remaining four accused, including the kingpin, Deepak Kumar.
Deepak is the brother of Ranjit Singh who was arrested from Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH), where he was admitted for an injury sustained in a fight in Chapra.
"Once we arrest Deepak, we will be able to get the real picture as to who all are involved in the abduction and how it was carried out," Atul said.
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi demanded the government should name the politician, who allegedly mediated the payment of ransom.
"What needs to be answered is under whose political patronage such things have started surfacing again. It is a reminder of the jungle raj we fought against,” he added.