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Indian American abducted, freed after ransom in US

Aswin Patel, whose family owns liquor stores in Washington, was kidnapped and released after his brother paid $18,000 in ransom.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2004 22:01 IST

A young Indian American businessman, whose family owns a chain of liquor stores in Washington, was kidnapped in the capital area and released the next day after his brother paid $18,000 in ransom, police has said.

The family of Aswin Patel, 27, owns several liquor stores in Prince George's County in the capital area. He himself runs a store.

He was kidnapped on Friday night at 10.30pm by three men who claimed to be FBI agents. The kidnappers drove him to the neighbouring Montgomery County before he was freed by Montgomery County officers who chased the car for speeding and running a red light, police said.

His brother apparently paid the ransom before the kidnappers were caught. The car crashed during the chase and the men in it were arrested.

Police found Patel on the floor in back, with his wrists and ankles bound and his face wrapped with duct tape.

"He is messed up right now," the brother who paid the ransom told The Washington Post, speaking on condition that he not be identified.

The brother said Patel suffered a broken leg during the ordeal but has been released from a hospital. "They did not let (Patel) talk or ask questions before he put handcuffs on him and pushed him into the car," the brother said. "They just put tape on him. They drove him somewhere, and they beat him up. They broke one leg, and he can't walk.

"He is very emotionally messed up," the brother said. "He could have been killed. We are just so thankful that the police had their eyes open and they stopped this," he added.

First Published: Feb 10, 2004 19:50 IST