Monday, April 13, 2009

Satish Anand released from captivity after 6 months

KARACHI: Renowned filmmaker and Bollywood actress Juhi Chawala’s uncle, Satish Anand, who was kidnapped some six months ago has been released by the kidnappers after a negotiated ransom amount was paid.

Anand, along with his family and Citizen Police Liaisons Committee (CPLC) chief Sharfuddin Memon arrived in Karachi from Islamabad. He was in the captivity of the kidnappers at the place located at a distance of four to five hours from Bannu, Miranshah.

Anand remains physically and mentally fit and expressed his happiness and peace at being released and meeting his family. “I was in their captivity for such a long time. They could have killed me but they never touched me. They provided me proper accommodation, served good food in a proper manner and frequently held conversations with me in a friendly manner,” said Anand.

He said that the kidnappers threatened him and his family while making a call for ransom. “I was unable to identify any of them as I was blindfolded. I am happy that they did not kill me and also want to say thanks to the officials concerned in this matter,” Anand told investigators a short while after his release. His release was made after the family paid Rs 16 million after prolonged negotiations with the kidnappers, as they demanded Rs 50 million for his release. “I do not think that the family has paid the full amount as it seems that they have paid a lesser ransom amount,” CPLC’s Memon told Daily Times.

He added that the said network of culprits have already been busted with the arrests of retired Major Haroon Rasheed, retired Major Basit and their two companions, Talib and Salman by the law enforcement agencies that placed pressure on the kidnappers to release Anand. “Meanwhile, CPLC has also played a vital role in the negotiations to train Anand’s family how to deal with the kidnappers and also provided them with technical support.

It is a major responsibility when it comes to handling the family members of an abducted person and that too for a long time while negotiations takes place,” Memon added. He said that Anand was kept in a war zone area where the Taliban are fighting with the security forces and this led to the delay in the ransom deal. “For the past six months, the kidnappers called Anand’s family 25 times for negotiations. In these calls, he was allowed to talk to his family for four to five minutes,” Memon said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the culprits who were arrested earlier by law enforcers revealed during investigation that they had kidnapped three other people belonging to Waziristan and had also kept Anand in the War zone area. The key player in the Anand kidnapping case happens to be ex-army Major Haroon Rasheed. The Rawalpindi Motorway police arrested Rasheed along with his associate Talib when they were shifting a local businessman to NWFP. Both kidnappers were handed over to the Rawalpindi CID. Upon Rasheed’s confession, two more people, Basit and Salman were arrested in Karachi. However, sources say that Anand’s release was made using the locals to deal with Ilyas Kashmiri, leader of the arrested persons’ group who is also running a brigade of Harkatul Mujahideen-Al-Islami. Kashmiri is also involved in kidnapping people from across the country to support the militant activists waging Jihad against the security forces. (Daily Times Report)