Manama: An Indian businessman who owns a chain of hospitals, including one in Bahrain, has denied suggestions that he was involved in the kidnapping of a rival’s son.
Shifa Al Jazeera Medical Centre chairman and managing director Dr K T Mohammed Rabeeullah told the GDN in an exclusive interview that he had nothing to do with the abduction of Firasath Hassan Mohammed, the 19-year-old son of Al Hilal Hospital chairman P A Mohammed.
Firasath was kidnapped on March 24 outside his college in Kerala, but was released the same night in neighbouring state Tamil Nadu before any ransom was paid.
Indian police have confirmed that a wanted notice has been issued for Dr Rabeeullah in connection with the incident, after five of the alleged kidnappers were arrested on March 25.
It follows reports in the Indian media, but Dr Rabeeullah denied any involvement when contacted by the GDN.
“I am not involved in this, neither was I aware of it until I was told about the kidnapping,” Dr Rabeeullah told the GDN from Germany.
He said he suspected a mediator brought in to resolve a business dispute between himself and Mr Mohammed had ordered the kidnapping without his knowledge.
“I had assigned a mediator to discuss and negotiate on a deal with Mr Mohammed, where I faced a loss of 152.5 million rupees (around BD860,000),” said Dr Rabeeullah.
“We were partners and in total I owned 62.5 per cent of shares of the business, including the hospital which has a branch in Bahrain.
“I have a voice script proving my innocence, where I questioned the mediator about why he did all this.
“He will soon be giving his statement to the court, which will prove me right.”
Mr Mohammed, who also owns a chain of hospitals including two in Bahrain, expressed relief at the release of his son less than 12 hours after his abduction.
“My son was kidnapped by unknown men and a ransom was demanded,” he told the GDN.
“Fortunately, they were arrested and he was released. The case is now under investigation.”
He declined to comment further.
Kerala Police Circle Inspector Sajan Xavier, who is leading the investigation into the kidnapping, told the GDN yesterday that officers wanted to interview Dr Rabeeullah about the incident.
“He (Dr Rabeeullah) is currently out of India, hence we have placed a watch notice for him at all entry and exit ports in India,” said Inspector Xavier.
“The next level will be an Interpol alert, which will follow after certain procedures in three to six months.
“We arrested five men and there are three more in the gang who were directly involved in the kidnapping, who we are searching for as well.
“The case is under investigation and I do not want to comment further.”
It is understood the kidnappers demanded a ransom of 160m rupees (around BD908,000) in exchange for releasing Mr Mohammed’s son, of which 30m rupees (around BD170,000) was supposed to be paid within 24 hours.
Firasath was snatched from Rajagiri College, in Cochin, where he is a student.
However, his abductors appeared to get cold feet and let him go soon afterwards when police were called in.
“Firasath was taken from his college in Kakkanad on the guise of arranging a meeting with his friend,” said sources.
“It was his exam day and the college authorities noticed his absence and informed police.
“Before Mr Mohammed paid the initially agreed amount, the gang left him in Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, the same night.”