Mumbai: Bhojpuri actors held for trying to extort money to finance film

In what seems like a plot for a film, three junior artistes were arrested on Monday, after they threatened and extorted money from well known doctors and engineers in Nalasopara, to make a movie. Police said the accused made calls in the names of various gangsters to extort the money.

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Tulinj Police
Tulinj Police with the accused, who work in Bhojpuri films as junior artistes. Pic/Hanif Patel

The accused have been identified as Rajesh Kumar Sharma (25), Munindar Sharma (21) and Munish Yadav alias Rali alias Manoj (22). All were booked under Sections 383 (extortion) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. They were produced in court yesterday and remanded in police custody till February 25.

All hail from Madhya Pradesh and have been staying in Vasai since three years. They work in Bhojpuri films as junior artistes.

According to the police, the modus operandi included looking for doctors’ and engineers’ names and mobile numbers, and their family background. Later, the accused would call them and extort amounts from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. Police are yet to find how much money they extorted in all.

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According to an official from the Tulinj police station, an engineer from Nalasopara East received a call from an unknown person on February 18. “The caller threatened him and demanded Rs 20 lakh. The caller threatened to kill him, as well as his family members, if he refused. The engineer immediately informed us,” the police official said.

With the help of Call Detail Record (CDR), Tulinj police arrested the three accused from Janki pada under the jurisdiction of Waliv police station. There are two cases of extortion registered by doctors at the Waliv police station, which might have the accused’s involvement.

“During the interrogation, it was revealed that the accused wanted to make a Bhojpuri film, but they didn’t have the money to make it. So they planned to extort money from doctors and engineers. First they would find a doctor’s name and their family background, especially about his wife and kids. Later, they would call the doctor and threaten him. We suspect they have been doing this for a year,” said PSI Surendra Shivde. “We recovered 21 SIM cards and mobile phones from them, and a list of 14 doctor’s names, and debit and credit cards. We are also trying to find if the accused have a criminal record in MP,” he added.

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