Mr Bhatt had approached the Mumbai police’s anti-extortion cell on Wednesday night.
Mumbai: Barely 12 hours after Bollywood filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt registered a complaint of extortion and death threats to his family, the Uttar Pradesh’s special task force (STF) swung into action and nabbed Sandeep Sahu (26), a former wannabe actor from Lucknow.
Mr Bhatt had approached the Mumbai police’s anti-extortion cell on Wednesday night, after he received calls from an unknown person demanding Rs 50 lakh as extortion money.
Sahu had called Mr Bhatt claiming to be Babloo Srivastava, a notorious UP-based gangster who is incarcerated. Sahu had allegedly warned Mr Bhatt that if he failed to cough up Rs 50 lakh, he would kill his daughter Alia and Mr Bhatt’s wife Soni Razdan.
After the extortion call, Mr Bhatt registered a complaint with the Juhu police, and the crime branch was asked to investigate. Police sources said that Sahu is being brought to Mumbai by a team of anti-extortion cell (AEC) on transit remand. Sahu had purchased a new SIM card specifically to issue threats to Mr Bhatt and others.
Ashok Dudhe, deputy commissioner of police, said, “We will check the antecedents to find out why he targeted Mr Bhatt, once we get his custody.”
Apart from Mr Bhatt, Sahu had allegedly threatened five other Mumbai individuals, including an advertising producer and a television soap actor.
The police is ascertaining their identities. “Some of the threat messages have been sent on few other numbers and we will ascertain their identities once the accused is given police custody in Mumbai. We will study the call records of the number that he had used,” said a police officer.
After Mr Bhatt approached the Juhu police on Wednesday, the UP STF nabbed Sahu within 12 hours in Lucknow. Sahu is being brought to Mumbai by train and will arrive on Friday. He will be produced before the Esplanade Court after his arrival.
Crime branch officials said Sahu, had been making phone calls and sending texts and messages via online messenger to Mr Bhatt’s personal number demanding Rs 50 lakh since February 27. “Bhatt shared all the text messages and the details of the caller with the police. Sahu had first called using the name of Babloo Srivastav,” said a crime branch officer. A team of AEC headed by inspector Vinayak Vast swung into action and they track down the accused to Lucknow with the help of his cellphone number. They tipped off their counterparts in Uttar Pradesh police.