The Mumbai Crime Branch has recorded the statement of the son of a Congress leader in the Saki Naka sexual assault and extortion case involving a model in which three police personnel have been arrested. The special team probing the case has recorded the statement of Asif Khan, son of Congress leader Arif Naseem Khan, sources said.
Three police personnel — former API Sunil Khatpe, API Suryavanshi and police constable Yogesh Ponde — along with five informers were arrested on April 23 after a 29-year-old model approached Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, alleging she was taken to the Sangharsh Nagar police chowky on the night of April 2 and held there till April 3 morning. The victim alleged that the accused extorted nearly Rs 10 lakh from her and a male friend. She claimed Khatpe forced her to perform oral sex.
Asif was questioned about calls he had received from a male friend of the model.
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“Call Data Record (CDR) of the male friend shows he made numerous calls to Asif during the intervening night of April 2 and 3. Also, the witness asked his mother to deposit Rs 4 lakh in the account of a person, a manger with Asif. This was to pay money demanded by Khatpe for their release,” said a police officer.
When contacted, Arif confirmed the development. “Since the male friend had called my son a couple of times on April 2 night, the police had called him to verify the same,” he said.
The male friend had handled Arif’s public relations during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and is known to his son since then. According to statements of witnesses, the friend of the model called his mother and asked her to transfer Rs 4 lakh into the account of Vinod Chattpaar, a manager in the office of the former Congress MLA’s son. The male friend had then asked one of his employees to collect the money f and come to D-Mart mall near Sangharsh Nagar outpost, said the statement. Khatpe and Suryavanshi allegedly collected the money and released the model and her male friend.
On April 3 morning, a man named Praveen from Khan’s office had allegedly called Sakinaka police station to check if the male friend had indeed been picked up by the police. The police station replied in the negative.
Chattpaar’s statement has also been recorded by the probe team. The Crime Branch is searching for another accused, Sikander Mishra, who was earlier this week refused anticipatory bail by a Mumbai Sessions Court.
“In order to catch the victim red handed in a flesh trade case under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act, the accused booked a room in a hotel. The victim met another accused, Tanwir Hashim in the lobby. He posed as a director, but suspecting something amiss, she refused to accompany the co-accused and left,” the officer added.
The victim then called up her male friend. It was then that Khapte and others ushered the duo into a private car outside the hotel and took them to Saki Naka police outpost.