Monday, November 29, 1999

Couple held for abduction

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Byculla police on Friday arrested a couple who allegedly kidnapped a 50-year-old real estate agent, Hasim Ranjan Bhattacharya, for ransom. Police said Bhattacharya duped his captors and managed to call a family friend."Bhattacharya, a resident of Mira Road, was kidnapped by Imran Patel (28) and Farida Sheikh (32) while he was returning from a cemetery after paying respects at the grave of a friend's wife, Bakhtariz Ansari. They asked him to pay them the money Bakhtariz owed them. When he refused, Patel allegedly took him to Mastan Talao, Nagpada forcibly and held him captive for hours. Bakhtariz's son Shoaib, who was with Bhattacharya at the cemetery, approached us to file a complaint," said assistant police inspector B Ghawte of Byculla police station."The couple had broken Bhattacharya's spectacles and snatched his gold chain and mobile phone.However, Bhattacharya requested them to give his phone back for a few minutes so that he can make a call to his house to check if his medicines needed to be restocked. The naivette on part of the accused helped us nab them. Instead of making call home, Bhattacharya called up Shoaib who was at the police station. We immediately swung into action, reached Nagpada and nabbed the accused," said Ghawte.According to Bhattacharya, after Ismail's death in 1997, Bakhtariz along with her friend Farida Sheikh used to help in school admissions for poor and collected money for doing so."According to Sheikh, Bakhtariz died before distributing the money they both had earned. Bhattacharya had reportedly offered to repay Sheikh on Bakhtariz's behalf. Sheikh and her boyfriend Patel had repeatedly tried to procure the money but were unsuccessful. Hence, they abducted him for money. They had also asked Bhattacharya to register a plot in Mira Road that he had purchased in their names," said Ghawte.

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