To hell and back, Akali leader recounts
Senior Akali leader Manmohan Singh Khera can't get over the ordeal of having been kidnapped in Hong Kong as he has stopped trusting people. Even as the HT team entered his house at Machhiwara, he was quick to take out his pistol and keep it by his side apparently to feel secure.punjab Updated: Nov 14, 2013 18:23 IST
Senior Akali leader Manmohan Singh Khera can't get over the ordeal of having been kidnapped in Hong Kong as he has stopped trusting people.
Even as the HT team entered his house at Machhiwara, he was quick to take out his pistol and keep it by his side apparently to feel secure.
He was visibly aggressive at the sight of strangers entering his house. "The person who kidnapped me was known to me. So how can I trust strangers?" Khera said.
He curses the day when Simaranjeet Singh alias Gaggi, a resident of Kaunke in Jagraon, contacted him for a deal of Khera's land in Ludhiana. The deal was lucrative and Khera agreed. Upjinder Singh alias Pali, someone known to Khera, had introduced him to Gaggi.
"The deal started over the phone two months ago. Gaggi used to call from Hong Kong and say that I should go there to finalise the deal and could also see the beautiful city," Khera said.
He, however, did not know that the dream to see the beautiful city would soon end up in captivity in a room measuring 10 by 8 feet, where Khera, his advocate Gurinder Singh Dhillon of Landran and bank manager Satwinder Singh Mavi were kept for three days.
"As soon as we reached the Hong Kong airport on October 25 morning, a car was waiting for us. We thought that it would take us to the hotel where the deal would be finalised. However, we were taken to a scrap yard on the outskirts of the city where we were confined to a small room," he says.
"We were picked up by two men who spoke Punjabi and drove us to an area where five more people were waiting. As soon as we reached there, I told my companions that we had been kidnapped. Our hands as well as legs were tied and we were locked inside the room," he said. Khera says all the kidnappers there were well versed with Punjabi and some of them were perhaps Pakistanis. He said the food served to them was atrocious, so they ate only once a day.
Gaggi visited the room where they were captivated and told Khera that his family should pay Rs 15 crore if they wanted to see him alive. "I thought my end was near as the kidnappers would kill me even if they got the money," Khera said.
As Khera's family was in constant touch with the kidnappers, the information reached Interpol through police who further contacted the Hong Kong police and a trap was laid.
Police asked Narinder Singh, brother of Khera, that he should pay a little amount to Gaggi so that a trap could be set. The family agreed and Gaggi came to India and then to Machhiwara on October 27 where he was nabbed.
The Hong Kong police ensured the release of Khera and his associates. Seven people were arrested by the Hong Kong police; Gaggi, Harbhajan Singh and Upjinder Singh alias Pali, who is also a property dealer, have been arrested.
Khera and two others returned to India on November 1. "It was due to god's grace that I came out of that situation. Also, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had directed the Khanna police to be tough with those involved in kidnapping," Khera says.
Khera's friends keep visiting his house. One among those is the old friend Sardara Singh from Chandigarh who often visits his home. "It was a nightmare for Khera's family as well as friends. However, the ordeal is over and he is back," Singh said.
Khanna SSP Sushil Kumar said the investigation into the matter was on and three people had been arrested so far. Police have registered a case under sections 420, 384, 506 and 120-B of the IPC against those arrested.