The Anti-Extortion Cell of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch on Thursday arrested a 34-year-old man from Khed for allegedly threatening and trying to extort money from actor, director and producer Mahesh Manjrekar.
The man has been identified as Milind Tulsankar, a tea seller from Diva. He posed as a member of gangster Abu Salem’s gang and demanded Rs 35 crore from Manjrekar through messages sent over phone, said police.
An officer said that Manjrekar first received a message on August 23, in which Tulsankar allegedly threatened to kill him and demanded money. The next day, the actor filed a complaint application at the Dadar police station. A copy was marked to the Crime Branch. A case of extortion was registered on Wednesday, which was then transferred to the Anti-Extortion Cell.
“Manjrekar was constantly harassed and threatened from August 23 to 25. The accused would send him texts and even tried to call him but Manjrekar was scared to answer,” said the officer.
“In one of his messages, Tulsankar referred to how Abu Salem had killed someone. He threatened to kill Manjrekar if he did not pay up. In the last message sent to Manjrekar, the accused said that he will have to send the money through hawala,” the officer added.
A mobile phone and two SIM cards used for the purpose were found switched off when Anti-Extortion Cell officers started investigating the case. “It became difficult to locate Tulsankar. He was eventually traced to Khed,” the officer said, adding the cellphone and SIM cards have been seized.
Following his arrest, it came to light that Tulsankar is a tea vendor from Diva and due to the lockdown, he had gone back to his wife’s native place in Khed.
“With an extended lockdown and his business shut, he had no money. So, he decided to extort money from Manjrekar. The accused was familiar with actors who have worked in both Hindi and Marathi films,” the officer said.
The police said Tulsankar got Manjrekar’s contact number from website myneta.com. Before dialing him, Tulsankar had searched online for crimes that Salem had committed in the past.
The accused was produced in court, which remanded him to police custody till September 2.
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