16 arrested for running ‘friendship club’, extortion

According to sources, Subhojit Bhattacharya (24), a resident of Muchipara, had lodged a complaint against the accused.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:May 10, 2017 4:41 am

Kolkata Police has arrested 16 people for allegedly running a racket in the form of a “friendship club”, which doubled as an escort service, and extorting money from its members. “Nine men and seven women in the age group of 25 to 37 have been arrested after a raid at a flat on the third floor of a building on Rajdanga Main Road of Kasba,” said Joint CP (Crime) Vishal Garg.

“Those arrested are residents of Sonarpur, Baruipur, Haridevpur, Khardah, Nischinda, Patuli, Mahestala and Shibpur among others,” he added. According to sources, Subhojit Bhattacharya (24), a resident of Muchipara, had lodged a complaint against the accused.

“The accused used to advertise in leading newspapers to lure people into getting engaged as escorts with an monthly income between Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000,” he said. On getting a call, from a man or woman, the accused would allegedly ask them to deposit amounts for registration, medical check-ups and commission for proposed income from clients.

To win trust of their victims, the accused would sometimes allegedly pose as potential clients and meet them.

Once the money was deposited, the accused would intimidate the victim by posing as officers of Kolkata Police cyber crime cell and threatening to arrest the victim for trying to establish illicit relationships unless a fine of Rs 20,000 was paid.

As many as 53 mobile phones, 75 SIM cards, two cordless handsets, several rubber stamps of different companies and a vehicle were seized, he added. The accused were produced at a city court and remanded to police custody till May 15.

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