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Indian held captive in Nepal

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 12:34 IST
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A leading businessman in Nepal kept an Indian captive for over a month in Kathmandu to force his son repay embezzled money, a report said.

Laxmi Kant Sharma, a 56-year-old from India's Rajasthan state, who has been living in Nepal, was freed Monday by police at the intervention of the local residents.

Sharma was kept captive in a flat in the capital for over a month without being allowed to meet or speak with anyone on the orders of the Chaudhary Group, one of the biggest business houses in Nepal, the Kathmandu Post said.

Sharma told police he had been held captive for the crime committed by his son Shashi Kant Sharma, a former cashier at the business house, who reportedly stole about NRS 9 million (about $120,000) from his employers.

Shashi Kant Sharma and another Indian, Vishnu Maheshwori, also a former employee of the Nepali business house, allegedly stole the money in cahoots.

However, both were arrested and Maheshwori reportedly jumped to his death in the police station this week while being interrogated.

Laxmi Kant Sharma was kidnapped in Bhairahawa town in southern Nepal last month, brought to Kathmandu and kept imprisoned in a flat owned by Binod Chaudhary, chairman of the Chaudhary Group and president of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries, the Post reported.

The local residents grew suspicious at the sight of the elderly man pacing on the terrace every day and informed the police, who rescued Sharma on Monday.

Before the police arrived, his jailers tried to take him away from the flat but were prevented by the local residents, the daily said.

However, the business house says Sharma was kept in the flat on "humanitarian grounds".

GP Shah, general manager of the Chaudhary Group, reportedly told the media that since Sharma had vowed not to leave without meeting his son, the business group was worried about him and put him up in their guesthouse.

According to the Post, the business house has agreed to pay for Sharma's airfare back to India.

On Monday, a Kathmandu court ordered that Sharma's son Shashi Kant be kept in police custody for five days.

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