The India head of multinational Alstom T&D was rescued by police on Saturday after being kidnapped at gunpoint in Noida and whisked away to Meerut to be held in the house of a businessman.
Police said Rathin Basu, country president and managing director of power industry supplier Alstom T&D India Limited, was returning to his Noida sector 44 home from his office in sector 65 in his Toyota Camry when the car was hit by a WagonR.
"As soon as Basu got down to check the damage, three armed assailants pointed guns at him and entered his car. They held him and his driver hostage and blindfolded them," said Preetinder Singh, a Noida-based senior superintendent of police.
This was shortly after 7.45pm.
The car was driven to Meerut where they were taken inside a house and Basu was allowed to receive a call from his family.
"We were approached by officials of Alstom and family members of Basu at around 10pm. They said Basu had told them over phone that he would soon come back as he was busy in a meeting," Singh said.
But the family smelt a rat as Basu, who usually speaks in English and Bengali, was speaking Hindi, and sounded frightened. Basu did not disclose his location but it was determined to be Meerut.
A police party from three police stations along with three PCR vans was sent to Meerut.
An additional force from six Meerut police stations were sent to the posh Pandav Nagar area of Meerut to where the mobile call was traced.
"At around midnight, police cordoned off the area but as it is a posh locality, people did not cooperate. When the police started house-to-house checks, some even dialled 100 in panic," said a senior officer who was part of the investigation team.
The police decided to raid the area after sunrise but their hand was forced when around 4am one of the teams heard the sound of a car starting up and saw the headlights come on.
"Police identified the car to be that of Basu after seeing the number plate. A raid was conducted in which Basu and his driver were rescued and three armed assailants were arrested," Singh said.
Three accomplices managed to flee from the spot. Police said the house was owned by Noida-based businessman and transporter Akhand Pratap Singh, who is absconding after the incident.
Those arrested have been identified as Naresh Pal, a driver of Akhand Pratap Singh, Narendra and Sanju Thakur. Police have formed a team to arrest Akhand and the three accomplices at large.
According to the police, they are yet to establish why Basu was kidnapped as no ransom call was made by the assailants.