Updated: November 20, 2021 1:40:28 am
THE MUMBAI Police Crime Branch on Thursday arrested three persons for allegedly conspiring, kidnapping and extorting Rs 3.26 crore from a businessman in Mumbai.
The police said that the trio and other accused in the case made a video of the complainant in a compromising position. On the pretext of posting the video on social media, the group blackmailed him into paying the money. Those arrested are Anil Chaudhary (42), Lubna Wazir (47) and Manish Sodi.
The police said the businessman is an elderly person and the owner of a sugar factory based in Kolhapur district. In 2016, he had gone to Goa where met Chaudhary. “Since then the two have been in touch. Whenever the complainant came to Mumbai, they would meet… even Chaudhary would travel to Kolhapur to see him,” said an officer.
During one such meeting in 2018, the businessman was introduced to Wazir, a woman. She told the complainant that she was familiar with higher officials in the government and the police department.
On March 8, 2019, the businessman had come to Mumbai and was staying in a five-star hotel, when he invited Chaudhary over to his room for dinner. Chaudhary took Wazir and two other persons – Manish Sodi and Monica Dev – to the hotel with him, said police.
An officer said, “Everything was preplanned… after sometime, Chaudhary and Sodi left the room claiming that they had some work but the two women stayed on. One of the women pushed the other on the businessman… she subsequently removed her clothes and covered herself with a blanket. She then raised an alarm that the businessman was trying to rape her. The second woman made a video of them in a compromising position.”
Following this, they called Chaudhary to the room, said the officer. “They threatened to lodge a police complaint. They also said that they would post the video on social media and malign his image… The four accused, in the next one month, extorted Rs 1.25 crore from the complainant,” the officer added. “They sensed that the businessman was in a vulnerable state and demanded another Rs 2 crore in December 2019. But the matter was settled at Rs 90 lakh.” The police claimed that last November, the accused again demanded money.
“The complainant paid them Rs 60 lakh… they then made a settlement deed in which the accused promised that they would not blackmail him further and also delete the video,” said the officer. As per the deed, the businessman had to pay Rs 50 lakh more to them. Till the end of 2020, the complainant had paid the accused Rs 2.26 crore.
But on October 23, the group demanded more money from him. “The complainant refused to pay, as he claimed to have suffered huge losses in the lockdown… he was thinking of committing suicide… the businessman then confined in his son,” said the officer.
They then approached the Crime Branch, which registered a case. Chaudhary, Wazir and Sodi were arrested on Thursday from their respective residences in Andheri. The police are on the lookout for Dev.
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