The Versova police on Tuesday arrested two men posing as journalists for allegedly stripping a small-time model, taking photographs of her and then extorting money using the pictures.
According to the police, the victim, who approached them on May 6, said in her complaint that on May 4, she had gone to meet a film producer at the MHADA colony in Four Bungalows, Versova, and was talking to him regarding a possible role in a movie, when six to seven men barged into the room.
“The men allegedly assaulted her, as well as the producer, stripped her and then shot photographs. Later, they demanded Rs 1 lakh from the producer. The men claimed to be journalists and called their actions a sting operation,” the police said.
“The producer gave them Rs 50,000, and the men left the bungalow after locking the model and the producer inside the room. A day later, the model allegedly received a phone call asking her for Rs 1 lakh, failing which the caller told her that her nude photographs would be published in newspapers and on news websites. The victim then approached the police,” officers said.
The Versova police then made inquiries and arrested two men, identified as Mohammed Rafiq Memon (45), a resident of Juhu Galli, and Ashok Gupta (34), a resident of Lalbaug. “On searching the men, we found more than five visiting cards of various local newspapers and media websites. Memon claimed he was the owner of Social Media (The India 24 news website), whose office is in Goregaon, while Gupta claimed to be working for Maharashtra News Samay, Tez TV News and INS TV News,” said Police Inspector Subhash Vele of Versova police station. The police are now tracing the accomplices of the arrested men, “We are yet to recover the camera that the accused used,” Vele added.
The police have booked the duo for extortion, molestation, wrongful confinement and impersonation under the Indian Penal Code. The police said they had earlier been arrested by the Kalachowkie and Chunabhatti police stations for posing as police officers and demanding money from various shops and hotels for employing child labourers.