Panchkula police on Saturday arrested two persons who allegedly made an extortion call to a real estate developer on February 4. Police said that the accused used a Facebook group by the name of ‘SOPU Gangsters’, to extract the number of the real estate developer, Dev Dutt Verma. They even got the idea to carry out the crime from the Facebook group, police added.
The prime accused, Ayaj Ali, 25, hailed from Najibabad of Uttar Pradesh and had been living in Pitampura Delhi. He had also worked at Manimajra. The other arrested person, 20-year-old Sachin, was a Rajasthan resident. The two had also met via Facebook a few years back and had met in person only once in May 2019 in Gurugram. The third accused, Vishal, who hails from Karnal district of Haryana, is yet to be caught, police said.
Verma had alleged that he received a WhatsApp call from an unknown number at around 1pm on February 4 demanding Rs 60 lakh when he was in Mohali. The accused had also sent him voice messages on WhatsApp.
“After Ayaj planned the whole thing, he called Sachin and asked him to involve Vishal in the plan as well. The three then rented out a hotel in Zirakpur on February 3. The voice note sent the following day was recorded in Vishal’s voice, who spoke in a Haryanvi slang. The accused were trying to throw off the police by using his voice so our suspicions will not go further than Haryana”, said DCP Panchkula, Kamaldeep Goyal.
The accused had used the picture of gangster Sukha Kahlon as the display picture of the WhatsApp number, with which the extortion message was sent, to intimidate the victim.
“Ayaj was a member of the Facebook group. During questioning, it has come out that the group gives out a list of numbers that can be targeted for extortion”, said Goyal. “The accused will be presented in the court on Sunday and we will ask for a four-day remand for questioning them. We are also tracking Vishal who will be apprehended soon,” he added.
In the FIR registered in connection with the incident, Verma had said, “The caller took my name and told me that he knows where I live, which car I drive and what is its registration. He told me to arrange Rs 60 lakh. He warned me not to take the call lightly, or he will kidnap me.”
The DCP said that they will launch an investigation into the group, it’s contents and its activities. “The crimes are now being planned online , as we saw in the Kalka murder case. In this case, the accused got the inspiration, the number and the way to implement the plan from the group”, he said.
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