Guns seized from kidnap suspects.
Seven men, including an Indian political leader and a policeman, have been arrested for allegedly trying to kidnap Shifa Al Jazeera Medical Group chairman Dr K T Mohammed Rabeeulla from his home in Malappuram, Kerala, India, at around 6am on Monday.
Among them is Bharathiya Janata Party Minority Morcha national vice-president Dr Aslam Gurukkal.
They have been remanded in custody and are due to appear at a bail hearing today.
Police have also seized three vehicles in which the men arrived at the home of Dr Rabeeulla, one of which was damaged.
Neighbours and relatives of Dr Rabeeulla were able to surround the suspects, foiling attempts to break into his house and hold them until police arrived.
"Neighbours and family members gathered around the men and their vehicles when police reached Dr Rabeeulla's house on Monday morning," Malappuram deputy superintendent of police Jaleel Thottathil told the GDN from Kerala.
"We arrested all the seven men including political leader Dr Aslam Gurukkal.
"Two of them had guns with them, which the police seized."
He said they were still being questioned by police who were trying to establish a motive.
"We are questioning them to find out their motive, which is suspected to be related to business rivalry," he added.
"We are also probing the licence of the guns, as one of the gunmen is a policeman and his should be a service revolver, whereas the other one is yet to be clarified."
The wife of Dr Rabeeulla, who owns a chain of hospitals in the Gulf, alerted police that someone was trying to kidnap her husband.
"According to family members, the men demanded to meet Dr Rabeeulla and when security tried to stop them, two of them tried to jump over the wall," added deputy superintendent Thottathil.
"In a fight that broke out among the people in the neighbourhood and security guards, one of the three cars in which the men came was damaged.
"Police arrived and arrested three men at the scene and later four who escaped in the other two cars.
"Dr Gurukkal said that they had come to meet Dr Rabeeulla, but why would anyone who comes to meet a person try to break in or carry guns?"
The incident follows speculation on social media about Dr Rabeeulla's whereabouts, which prompted him to release a video online on Saturday, stating he was well but receiving medical treatment at home in Kerala.
"We are aware of the speculation and social media reports that Dr Rabeeulla is under house arrest, but we haven't received any official complaint," said the officer.
"We did not meet Dr Rabeeulla yet, which we will be doing in the coming days.
"As informed by his close relatives, he is under treatment and if needed we will meet him in the presence of his doctor, which will be needed as part of the investigation."
Dr Rabeeulla was at the centre of a controversy last year, when he was accused of kidnapping a rival's son in India.
However, he denied the claims in an exclusive interview with the GDN.
Firasath Hassan Mohammed, the 19-year-old son of Al Hilal Hospital chairman P A Mohammed was kidnapped on March 24 outside Rajagiri College, in Cochin, where he was a student.
Reports said 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.
However, his abductors released him soon afterwards when police were called.
Indian police at that time confirmed a wanted notice had been issued for Dr Rabeeulla in connection with the incident, after five of the alleged kidnappers were arrested.
Dr Rabeeulla, the chairman of Bahrain's Shifa Al Jazeera Medical Centre, in 2013 received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, the highest honour given to overseas Indians by the Indian government for their role in enhancing India's image abroad.
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|Publication:||Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)|
|Date:||Jul 26, 2017|
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