The investigation by the Haryana Police following the arrest of six persons last month has revealed that not only a few Haryana MLAs but also three MLAs from Punjab and two MLAs from Delhi had received threats, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said Monday.
While making this statement in the Assembly, he said that “the persons involved in the crime were cyber fraudsters not connected with any terrorist organisation or extortion racket”.
According to Vij, the accused had taken advantage of the widely publicised recent incidents of crime in Punjab and they were trying to exploit the situation.
As many as four MLAs from Haryana had received threats in June, sending an alarm in the government and Opposition circles in the state. According to Vij, the two MLAs from Delhi belong to the Aam Aadmi Party.
“Apart from Haryana MLAs, the threats were given to the legislators of Punjab and Delhi too while using the same IP (internet protocol) address. Some people had deposited money in the bank account of the fraudsters apparently following the threat calls. We are trying to find out who all deposited money in their account. It’s also learnt that Rs 2.77 crore has been withdrawn from their bank accounts,” Vij said.
The minister said that “our boys (policemen) have done a great job” by probing the matter efficiently.
He said that the investigation of the cases was assigned to the STF to ensure that these cases get the highest priority and to ensure coordination with other state investigation/intelligence agencies.
A special investigation team headed by an SP level officer was constituted. “Technical analysis of the mobile phones revealed that the numbers used to make the threat calls were registered in Middle Eastern countries and operated from Pakistan. Accordingly, a team was also deputed to coordinate with the central agencies regarding investigation abroad.”
Vij said that after proper investigation, six members of a gang (two from Mumbai, four from Muzaffarpur, Bihar) were arrested and a total of 55 ATMs, 24 mobile phones, 56 SIM cards, 22 passbooks/cheque books, Rs 3,97,000 in cash, one vehicle, three diaries and one register were recovered from the possession of those arrested.
During investigation, “it was also revealed that threats and demands for extortion were made through some Pakistani residents.”
The Haryana Police is also providing assistance to the police forces of other states in connection with investigation of cases of similar nature within their jurisdiction.
The Home Minister said that two cases have been registered in connection with incidents related to Congress MLA Kuldeep Vats (Badli) — one at Pataudi and the other at Jhajjar. At present, both the cases are under investigation. Police have not received any written complaint regarding the incident in which a video was circulated in which some people allegedly threatened Maman Khan, MLA, Ferozepur Jhirka.
Vij said the modus operandi of the cyber fraudsters to threaten the people was simple. “For example, they will issue threats to 50 people and 20 of them may agree to deposit in the bank account as told by them. Then this money will be withdrawn by the fraudsters. They came into our trap when our men (cops) offered to deposit money in their bank account.”
Earlier, the issue of law and order and threat to MLAs dominated the House proceedings with several MLAs from Opposition giving adjournment motions. The Congress MLAs, led by former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, staged a brief walkout from the House when the Speaker did not allow the adjournment motion. Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta allowed a calling attention motion over the issue.
The Congress MLAs staged a second walkout expressing dissatisfaction over the statement of Vij, who cited comparative figures of the crime incidents, including murder, attempt to murder, rape, kidnapping, dacoity and snatching, during the Congress regime from 2005 to 2014 and during the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government. The Congress MLAs alleged that the minister was trying to deviate from the issue without giving a direct reply on the serious issue pertaining to threats to the legislators. INLD legislator Abhay Singh Chautala and Independent MLA Balraj Kundu too expressed serious concern over threats to the legislators.
1,515 security personnel for 464 protectees in state
The Haryana government informed the Assembly that as many as 1,515 security personnel have been deployed for 464 protectees, including ministers, MPs and MLAs.
In response to a question by INLD MLA Abhay Singh Chautala, the government stated that as many as 66 security personnel have been deployed for 15 MPs, including five Rajya Sabha MPs from the state. Among the VIPs, ‘Z’ plus security has been provided to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar while Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala has ‘Z’ security cover. The government has provided ‘Y’ category security cover to former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.