Indian tax official, friend held ‘captive’ in Nepal for 72 hoursJune 18th, 2011 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, June 18 (IANS) An income tax official from India’s holy city Haridwar and his friend are alleging they faced a 72-hour nightmare in Nepal after being lured to the Himalayan republic with the promise that they would be able to buy land at a throwaway price.
Kathmandu police said they arrested a 32-year-old Nepali, Ram Gurung, and are searching the capital for two accomplices, whose names were given as Soni and Manjil Rai, for having allegedly held the two Indians captive in a resort in lake city Pokhara for 72 hours.
Inspector Sher Bahadur Chand said Ashwini Kumar Agrawal and Vishnu Prasad Tripathi, both from Haridwar, had checked into the Green Peace Resort in Pokhara on Tuesday as part of a group of six people.
There was a third Indian in the group, identified as Virendra Singh, while the rest were Nepalis.
According to the hotel staff, the six, who stayed in three rooms, seemed to be on the best of terms, taking their meals together and going out to fish.
Agrawal carried an identity card issued by India’s income tax department.
On Thursday, two Indians and a Nepali left the hotel by car while the remaining three followed suit the next morning.
Soon after they had left, Pokhara police received information that the Indians were being held against their will and rushed to the hotel to investigate.
However, the last members of the group had left by that time and an alert was issued to the Kathmandu police.
On Friday, Gurung was nabbed from the busy Sundhara area of the capital and Agrawal and Tripathi filed a police complaint, saying they had been lured with the bait that they would be able to buy land at a throwaway price in Pokhara.
According to the police complaint, Gurung however began to demand money from them. Police said they were looking into the possibility that the two Indians had also been robbed.
There was no immediate information on the third Indian.
As per the law of Nepal, foreigners are not allowed to buy land in the republic. Agrawal, despite being an Indian government employee, seems to have been ignorant of the fact.
The alleged imprisonment of the Indians in a Nepal hotel comes close on the heels of an American tourist being abducted from his hotel in the capital by two men, one of whom was a commando in the Nepal Army.
John Robert Schrumpf, 24, was abducted from the Dream Home Hotel in the capital by the army man on leave and an accomplice who used the ransom sent by the victim’s family to gamble at a Kathmandu casino.
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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Tags: accomplices, agrawal, chand, foreigners, green peace, gurung, haridwar, holy city, hotel staff, income tax department, indians, next morning, peace resort, pokhara, police complaint, prasad, rai, sher, soni, virendra