As Nepal police Thursday produced a gang of kidnappers in
Kathmandu's district court, investigations showed the Himalayan
republic was fast becoming a dangerous destination for Indian
businessmen with two New Delhi traders becoming the latest
Chandni Chowk clothes merchants Joginder Paul, 52, and Salamat
Ali, 35, were recovering from their worst nightmare ever in
Kathmandu after being lured to Nepal with the bait of more
lucrative business deals by a group that actually intended to
kidnap the duo and collect Rs.25 lakh ransom for each from their
Police superintendent Kedar Rijal said the plot was hatched by
Manjil Rai, a permanent resident of Dehradun in India's
Uttarakhand state who had migrated to Kathmandu. Rai had four
accomplices: two Indians and two Nepalis.
All of them - Shiv Narayan Yadav from Jharkhand, Samuel Hembram
from the same Indian state, and Nepali nationals Rakesh Shakya and
Santosh Ghimire - were arrested Tuesday, police said.
Ghimire is a former soldier of the Nepal Army who deserted about
seven years ago.
Rai hatched the plan to make friends with various traders in
India, dangle the bait of cushy business deals before them, invite
them to Nepal and then take them into captivity.
After identifying Paul and Ali as potential victims, he offered
them a partnership in antiques, rudrakshas and precious Nepali
stones and herbs. To win the confidence of the two Indians, he
even sent them e-tickets on board Nepal's national carrier Nepal
When the two unsuspecting Indians landed at the Tribhuvan
International Airport in Kathmandu July 7, Rai received them and
drove off with them in a red Santro car to Pokhara city.
The ordeal started after the two men found themselves taken to a
forested area where Rai had already erected a kind of tent to keep
The other four were awaiting the arrival of the victims and
trussed them up at knife and gunpoint. For two fearful nights, the
two Indians were held in the forest, and threatened and assaulted
The kidnappers also began calling up Paul's family, demanding a
total ransom of Rs.50 lakh to free the two men.
Police said they were tipped off by a woman who had business
dealings with the two Indians.
The apprehended gang members would be produced in court Thursday
with police seeking 10 days custody to complete investigations,
officials told IANS.
Last month, two more Indians had faced a similar situation, also
Ashwini Kumar Agrawal, an Indian income tax officer, and Vishnu
Prasad Tripathi, both from Haridwar, Uttarakhand, filed a police
complaint saying they were lured to Nepal with the offer of
getting land at throwaway prices but found themselves taken
(Sudeshna Sarkar can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)