MUMBAI: Thane’s anti-extortion cell team has arrested two journalists for allegedly trying to extort Rs 40 lakh from an engineer. The AEC, led by senior police inspector Pradeep Sharma, also arrested four other accused in two separate cases and one RTI activist for allegedly extorting Rs 10 lakh from a Kalwa-based hotelier. The Thane’s AEC busted an online cricket betting racket, arresting three bookies from Thane.
In the first case, the police had received a complaint from Dattu Geete, an engineer, wherein two scribes of local publications, Rangnath Tangdi and Baban Benke, had tried to extort Rs 40 lakh from him under the pretext of not publishing stories against him. An officer said, from February 2017, the two planned that they would start writing negative stories against Mr Geete, and in order to stop them, Mr Geete was asked to cough up Rs 40 lakh. Tangdi and Benke had already accepted Rs 1.5 lakh from him, and were about to collect the remaining Rs 38.5 lakh. Acting on the information, a team from the AEC laid a trap on Thursday and caught the two red-handed.
In the second case, the RTI activist, Sunil Salunkhe (29), had sought a RTI in which he learnt that there was an illegal construction in the premises of the Shraddha’s Kitchen, a hotel owned by the complainant B. Narayan Suvarna (47). Salunkhe then started blackmailing Mr Suvarna to either pay amount of Rs 5 lakh or else he will report the matter to the authorities. He also threatened the complainant for his life, which is when Mr Suvarna approached the police and the arrest was made on Thursday.
In the third incident, the AEC arrested Gautam Sawla (43), Nikhil Sampat (53) and Nitosh Pujani (28), all bookies, for allegedly betting in an online cricket-betting racket.