LAHORE - Gangsters have demanded Rs one billion ransom for the safe release of Punjabs leading businessman, who had been kidnapped at gunpoint along with his BMW-car and driver from Township area 15 days ago, police investigators disclosed here on Friday. Dr Muhammad Arshad, owner of High-Tech Feed, countrys largest poultry feed producing company, was on his way to office situated in Shadman locality when gangsters equipped with arms kidnapped him. Police circles believed that the incident, said to be the biggest case of kidnapping for ransom in the history of Lahore police in terms of ransom amount, has spread wave of terror and fear among the business community. Sources further claimed that the incident is not in the notice of Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif as the police officers are concealing facts from the top provincial hierarchy. On July 8, 2010, unidentified gunmen intercepted Dr Muhammad Arshad minutes after he left his Township residence to reach Shadman office. Hours later, the victim family received a telephone call from his cellphone wherein they were asked to arrange immediately Rs 50 million for the safe release of their loved one. The victim family agreed to pay the same ransom amount, requesting the abductors not to harm Dr Muhammad Arshad. Later the phone was switched off. Days after, the kidnappers again contacted the victim family through the victims cellphone number and increased the amount of ransom to Rs one billion. Apparently, it seemed that the kidnappers increased ransom amount after they realised that they had caught a big fish. The value of luxury car of the victim is worth Rs 35 million, sources close to the investigators commented. The crime rate has shot up alarmingly in the City as dozens of case of armed robberies, murders, kidnapping for ransom and house dacoities are being reported every month in the Punjab Capital at a time when the police are fighting terrorism as well, though still unable to protect the people from suicide bombings. The Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore has also confirmed the happening and said that the police so far failed to get any solid clue to trace the desperate kidnappers and ensure the safe release of the abductee. SP Investigations Ahmad Nawaz Cheema said that the police are investigating the case but did not mention any further details. Interestingly, the conviction rate in the cases of kidnapping for ransom cases in Punjab province is zero due to the faulty investigations and police inability to properly tackle such important cases. Police circles believe that this incident of kidnapping for ransom is more than a test case for the newly-appointed City Police Chief Aslam Tareen. Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif had fired former SSP (Operations) Lahore Chaudhry Shafique soon after the CCPO Aslam Tareen appeared before him during a law and order meeting and informed that the negligence of SSP was found in the Data Darbar suicidal attacks as he had failed to provide foolproof security to avoid the incident. Sources also claimed that the CCPO was not feeling comfortable while working with the SSP. The Township police have registered the case on the complaint of the victim family and are investigating with no arrest made so far.