6 held for trying to extort Rs 70K from transport operator

The arrested persons were identified as Avinash Anand Waghulkar (22), Santosh Babulal Vitkar (19), Kiran Balu Shelke (20), Sandeep Prakash Thakar (20), Praveen Bapu Kasale (20) and Dnyaneshwar Anand Waghulkar (20), all residents of Maan near Hinjewadi.

The police suspect there is a gang of more than 30 people who are threatening companies and transport vendors to extort money from them.

Got them: The arrested suspects (seated). Pic/Krunal Gosavi

The transport vendor, who has a contract with some IT companies for ferrying their employees, lodged a complaint with the Anti-Extortion Cell after the suspects threatened him with dire consequences.

“On May 12, the vendor had received a call from some unidentified caller and the caller had demanded Rs 70,000 from him and also threatened him with dire consequences if the demands are not met,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Anant Shinde said. “The vendor initially thought that somebody must be playing a prank just to harass him and neglected the threat, but on May 14 a few buses of his were stone-pelted in the IT park and that prompted him to file a case at Hinjewadi police station.”

He added that the vendor again received a call from the suspects later in the day and this time they were aggressive and again threatened him stating that several transport vendors and companies pay hafta to them and if he did not fulfil their demands, they would ransack his buses.

“They asked him to bring Rs 70,000 near a chowk in the IT park, but when the complainant went along with some friends and the money, nobody turned up to collect the amount,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Rajesh Bansode said.

He added that the vendor then approached the Anti-Extortion Cell and registered a complaint. A team led by Senior Police Inspector (Anti-Extortion Cell) Sachin Sawant started investigations, tracked down the extortionists and arrested six of them from Maan.  

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