Staff Reporter

"Lured Delhi-based businessman with lucrative offer, kidnapped": Crime Branch

Demanded Rs. 50 lakhs from Ram Avatar Bansal's familyRansom money reduced to Rs 9.5 lakhs The accused had earlier extorted Rs. 1 lakh from a businessman posing as a Dawood aide

NEW DELHI: An alleged extortionist operating from Bahrain has been arrested by the Crime Branch of the Delhi police for allegedly kidnapping and trying to extort money from a Delhi-based businessman.

Bahrain Interpol officials had informed their Indian counterparts and the Crime Branch about the kidnapping of the businessman there last October. A team of the Inter-State Cell of the Crime Branch, led by Inspector Subhash Tandon, finally managed to track down the accused, Saleem Noor Mohammad, a resident of Patan district in Gujarat, at Mumbai Airport on Monday before he could escape to Saudi Arabia under an assumed name. He was brought in the Capital on Tuesday and remanded to police custody till January 9.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Tajender Luthra said one Nazir Miya Malek -- a name Saleem had assumed -- had invited Ram Avatar Bansal, a wax dealer from Model Town, to Bahrain offering a business deal. Mr. Bansal reached Bahrain on a visa sponsored by Saleem on October 11 when he was taken captive by the accused and his two accomplices. He then demanded Rs. 50 lakhs from Mr. Bansal's family, which was brought down to Rs. 9.5 lakhs.

The Bahrain police, however, managed to rescue Mr. Bansal after three days in captivity. One of Saleem's accomplices was also arrested. But Saleem managed to escape to India following which the Indian authorities were informed.

Mr. Luthra said Saleem's father was involved in a fake currency racket and worked for Aftab Butki, a lieutenant of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. He was arrested and convicted for pushing fake currency into the market.

In 2001, Saleem took over his father's activities and also extorted Rs. 1 lakh from a businessman posing as an aide of Dawood Ibrahim. Due to police pressure, he left Gujarat and went to Mumbai where he met with Nazir Miya Malek, a cook who wanted to go to Middle East to earn more money.

On the pretext of helping him get a visa, Saleem took Nazir's passport and Rs. 10,000 from him, and replaced Nazir's photograph with that of his own. Then, with the help of forged documents, he managed to go to Bahrain.

Subsequently, Saleem also procured visa for Kuwait and kept shifting his base. He would be on the lookout for businessmen from India who visited Bahrain and Kuwait and then call them up posing as Dawood's aide. His relatives or accomplices collected the money in India through hawala.