We travelled 3rd Class AC Sleeper on the train from Delhi to Jaipur. It was our second experience of the indian rail system and was against expectations quite a pleasant journey. 3rd Class AC sleeper was us sitting on our bunks sharing food and converstion with the indian middle classes either on their way home or as every second group seemed to be, heading off to a wedding. It turns out the mild bespectecled man wearing the baseball cap sitting accross from us smiling benignly was being accompanied to his big day out in court. I got talking to the commanding officer who was sitting across from me and asked him what they were doing with the prisoner.
I was told he was one of the most dangerous prisoners in custody in the whole of India and he was being brought to court under escort by by seven police officers, all armed with an assortment of AK 47’s or rifles on the regular passenger rail system. This I was told was more secure than travelling by road. All the while I was speaking to the Commander the prisoner was chatting and laughing with his escort and other passengers. I asked could I speak with him and the officer said no problem. He was very softley spoken and extremely polite to speak with and he proceeded to fill me in on his story. He told me he was being charged with kidnapping which I found a little shocking then he told me he was being charged with 40 kidnappings. This being the amount they had decided to process out of the 150 or so original charges. I was amazed, this was a guy kidnapping on an industrial scale. The charges covered a 10 year period so he was responsible for over 1 kidnapping per month throughout this time. He had a staff of over 350 people working for him who were directed by him from Dubai and the average payout per kidnapping was in the region of 100,000 Euro. He told me he had been caught and extradited from Dubai, not for kidnapping but for extortion through which he made most of his money, I understood when he explained. Being such a prolific kidnapper his services were used by businessmen in payment disputes. Whenever a person felt they were owed money they couldn’t get back they would engage his services. For a percentage of the money owed he would threaten the other party with kidnapping if they didn’t pay up, naturally he said they nearly always paid up so over the years he had only had recourse to kidnap 150 or so.
When we were getting off in Jaipur we said our goodbyes to the family across from us on there way to the wedding, to the officers on there way to court and to the smiling kidnapper on his way to trial