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   I do not know about your family... (August 10, 1991)

I do not know about your family, but in my family there are several theories on the kidnapping of the diamond merchants.

For instance, the wife thinks there has been no kidnapping and the whole thing is a hoax to make the police and the CBI look life fools. The five merchants were all the time in Singapore, on a holiday away from their wives and families, eating Chinese food and drinking Tiger Beer, which they could not do in the presence of their families and community, being conservative and orthodox Marwaris.

When they had enough of a holiday, they grew beards, returned quietly to Delhi, and pretended they had been locked up all this time.

I have pocked several holes into this theory of hers. For instance, if they wanted to go on a bachelors' holiday, they could have told their wives that they were going for an important business conference and then enjoyed themselves, instead of letting the whole world know that they were kidnapped. Besides, what happened to the driver of the tourist taxi while they were in Singapore? They could not have locked him up all by himself in Delhi, nor could they have taken him along on the holiday. People who have a lot of money don't throw it about on taxi-drivers, etc.'

My elder son, Darryl, has a theory that three of them were kidnapped and the remaining two were kidnappers. However, their identities were so carefully concealed from one another that none of them knew even at this moment which among them were the kidnappers and which the victims. Hence, it is impossible for them to tell the police who is what and no amount of interrogation can clarify this.

I have, naturally, laughed out this theory, I pointed out to Darryl that most things may be fair in business, they may hire gunmen to shoot their rivals, they may lie, forge documents, make false proxies, but they will never kidnap. There are some standards of decency that they maintain.

My younger son, Derek, has a theory that the whole episode is a case of mistaken indentity. The kidnappers were a bunch of terrorists and they thought they were abducting politicians, which is who anybody would expect to find in Delhi's five-star hotels. Unfortunately, these people turned out to be diamond merchants, and, since no government would exchange hostages with diamond merchants, they finally released them.

That, I told him, was the most foolish and illogical theory of all. For one thing, what about R. Choudhary? The indentikit released by the police of R. Choudhary did not one bit look like a militant terrorist, it looked like an international con-man. Also, nobody would mistake diamond merchants for politicians, except if the politicians are certain MPs elected from Bombay.

The family wants to know what is my theory. I have told them I have no theory. I would rather leave it to the police to continue their investigations, which I am confident they would do very well. If, at the end of the investigations, they do not solve the crime, it would not matter. There are so many others they have not solved either.

 
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