India head of French firm Alstom kidnapped, then rescued hours later

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The India head of French multinational engineering group Alstom was rescued over the weekend hours after he was kidnapped near New Delhi, police said on Sunday.

Police said Mr Rathin Basu was abducted by a group of five men, at least one of whom was armed, late on Friday. The kidnappers forced him to stop his car and pushed him into their white Camry in Delhi's satellite city of Noida before driving to the northern town of Meerut,.

"We sent out 70 policemen to map the area from Noida to Meerut and after a firefight with the kidnappers, we finally found Mr Basu around 4am on Saturday," Meerut senior superintendent of police Deepak Kumar told AFP.

The executive, reportedly in his sixties, was found handcuffed in a small and dingy room, police said. Mr Kumar said a shopkeeper in Noida is thought to have masterminded the kidnapping.

"He was in financial trouble and thought this would help, so he sent his servants and his drivers to do the job," the officer said.

The shopkeeper is being questioned by Noida police, after officers found phone records showing several overnight calls made by the alleged kidnappers to him during the incident. Mr Basu's family received no demands for ransom during that period, Mr Kumar said.

Three of the five men involved in the kidnapping have been arrested on charges of abduction and attempted murder.