'Mastermind' in kidnapping of Alstom's India head arrested



Noida: Police on Saturday arrested a Noida-based trader for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of Alstom managing director Rathin Basu.

Basu, 50, India head of French multinational engineering group Alstom SA, was kidnapped along with his driver on Friday and was rescued from Meerut on Saturday.

"Trader Akhand Pratap Singh was arrested from Noida Sector 58 today. Probe revealed that he was the mastermind of the kidnapping," Senior Superintendent of Police, Preetinder Singh, said.

"Singh, along with his driver Naresh, had planned the kidnapping and Naresh executed the plan and took Basu to Meerut bungalow," the officer said.

Singh's driver Naresh and two other Noida-based persons - Sanju and Narendra- were arrested yesterday after an encounter.

The trader was absconding since last morning when the Meerut Police had rescued Basu from the clutches of kidnappers from Civil Lines area of Meerut, he said.

"Initially, we thought trader's servant may have done it alone as the trader was not living at the Meerut bungalow and keys were with the servant. He has showroom at Sector 18 and was living at Noida with his family," said Singh.

"But call details of the trader and his servant revealed that both were in touch and Naresh made several calls before and after the kidnapping. Basu too had told police that kidnappers were constantly in touch with someone," said Singh.

Due to electronic surveillance, the location was easily traced to Meerut which proved breaking point in the case, the SSP said.

"Basu's family members and colleagues had suspected foul play when he spoke in Hindi and immediately informed police without delay," the officer said.

"Had there been a delay in reporting the matter to police, the kidnappers could have taken him to some untraceable place. Their plan was to demand the ransom for his release," said Singh.

Basu was kidnapped along with his driver, Ram Babu, from Noida's Sector 66 on Friday evening.

He had left his Sector 71 office and was heading for home. According to Basu, the kidnappers allowed him to take all the calls so that his family does not panic. "They dictated me what to say and asked me to talk in Hindi as they did not know English. They were constantly in touch over phone with somebody," Basu told reporters yesterday.

A car hit my vehicle and when we got down, two people from that car came to apologise and then suddenly three more came carrying guns. They pushed us inside my car and kidnapped us, he said.

They said they wanted my car for four hours and then they will set me free, said Basu.

As Basu used to speak in English or Bengali, his family members became suspicious when he spoke in Hindi and informed the police.

PTI