A private detective and his accomplice were arrested by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch for allegedly blackmailing a south Mumbai-based businessman. The duo had claimed to have obtained Call Detail Records (CDRs) of the businessman and threatened to tell his wife about his alleged extra-marital affair unless he paid them Rs 2.5 crore, said police.
The detective, Shailesh Manjrekar, was arrested by the Anti-Extortion Cell of the Crime Branch on Saturday after the businessman registered a complaint with the police. His accomplice, Imtiyaz Pothiawala, alias Mannu (51), a resident of Agripada, was picked up the police on Friday. Manjrekar was produced in court on Sunday and remanded to police custody until August 8 while Pothiwala is in police custody until August 7.
According to the police, the complainant, Walkeshwar-based married builder had met a middle-aged woman living in Lower Parel last year during a trip to Goa and became friends with her. As their friendship developed, the police said the woman confided to the builder in January this year that her relationship with her boyfriend was troubled.
“Even as the duo continued to stay in touch, the complainant was contacted in May by Pothiawala, who warned him to stay away from the woman and threatened to tell his wife about the alleged extramarital relationship,” said a Crime Branch official.
The official added that the businessman met Pothiawala at a hotel in south Mumbai, where he was shown his Call Detail Records. “The accused had threatened to send the CDR to the builder’s wife and his family members unless he paid him Rs 2.5 crore within three days,” said a Crime Branch official.
When the builder asked for more time to put together the money, Pothiawala allegedly called the builder for another meeting. “This time, the accused had brought along a pen drive and threatened to send its contents to his wife. The builder gave in to the threat and paid Pothiawala Rs 10 lakh in July,” added the official.
However, Pothiawala allegedly sent the CDR to the builder’s wife via WhatsApp. After his wife questioned him about his relationship with the woman, the builder approached the police.
During investigation, the police discovered that Pothiawala had tasked Manjrekar with retrieving the builder’s CDR. Manjrekar is listed as the Managing Director of Goregaon-based Accent Confidential Investigation Pvt Ltd on the agency’s website. The agency claimed to carry out both personal and corporate investigations, conduct background verifications for potential spouses and spying on cheating spouses. The website also lists him as being a ‘detective for family court case’, ‘detective for teenage monitoring’, ‘missing person finder’ and ‘detective for dating scams’.
Manjrekar was wanted since last year when unit 9 of the Crime Branch had arrested other private detectives for purchasing CDRs and conducting investigations with their aid. Pothiawala had been arrested by the Customs Department in 2000 in connection with the seizure of 575 gold bars, valued at Rs 3.09 crore for which he did not have any bill of purchase or import certificate, and Rs 21 lakh in currency notes.