Sukkur: 3 senior bankers recovered after a month, kidnappers held
KARACHI, July 2: Three senior bankers, including a director and a deputy director of the State Bank of Pakistan, who had been kidnapped over a month ago for a ransom of Rs90 million, were safely recovered in a police raid in the Shah Belo forest, near Sukkur, officials said here on Saturday.
Described as one the most `high-profile kidnapping for ransom cases in recent years`, investigators said Rasheed Narejo — a notorious criminal having a head-money of Rs1 million on his arrest offered by the provincial home department — and two other suspects were arrested in the joint raid of the Karachi city police and the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC).
“The suspects, Mehboob Chandio and Zameer Chandio, are also wanted in several criminal cases registered at the Bin Qasim Town police station,” said SSP Farooq Awan of the Anti-Violent Crime Cell (AVCC).
“All the three captives — SBP director Najam-us-Saqib, deputy director Nadim Bhurghuri and UBL senior executive vice president — were recovered unhurt,” he said, adding that they were on their home.
The three bankers had gone missing on their way shortly after having a dinner at a private club on May 30. The following day their car was found abandoned in Bin Qasim Town.
Their families later received ransom calls from kidnappers demanding Rs30 million for the safe release of each hostage.
The police, meanwhile, registered an FIR (112/2011) under Section 365-A (kidnapping or abducting for extorting property, valuable security) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code against unidentified suspects.
The officials said AVCC investigators in coordination with the CPLC initiated the probe and raided a place in Bin Qasim Town a few days after the kidnapping that led to the recovery of documents of the car, which was in use of Najam-us-Saqib. The evidence and a person`s arrest at the place helped locate the bankers and the kidnappers, the officials said.
“It`s a thick forest, better known as kutcha area, which is notorious for the criminal hideouts in Sindh,” said CPLC chief Ahmed Chinoy while giving a description of the area where the bankers had been taken.
“The AVCC and the CPLC engaged local investigators as well as other law-enforcement and intelligence agencies. The area was scanned and cordoned off two days before the final action on Friday that resulted in the safe recovery of the bankers and arrest of the kidnappers.”
Mr Chinoy said the CPLC and AVCC with joint efforts had busted 13 gangs involved in kidnapping for ransom activities with the arrest of dozens of criminals since January. “Karachi has witnessed more than 40 such cases this year,” he added.
A total of 112 kidnappings for ransom — the highest number of cases since 1990 — were reported last year.
Amid the rise in ransom cases, the authorities claimed to have busted some 22 gangs involved in the crime last year. But, according to some officials, the real challenge was with the handling of their offshoots, which mainly operated from outside the city.
AVCC chief SSP Farooq Awan expressed concerns over what he said “the recent influx of criminal elements in the city following the devastating floods in Sindh and other parts of the country” and looked for more joint and coordinated efforts among the law-enforcement agencies to meet the challenge.
“It has been a source of concern that the three bankers were kidnapped in Karachi and all the way transported to the Shah Belo forest with no check from any quarters concerned.
“Their safe recovery and arrest of three kidnappers is a major success of the police force, but the situation warrants more checks and better coordination among the law-enforcement agencies to control the crime,” the SSP said.