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Phoney 'Congress worker' held for extortion, forgery

Like Icarus, Rakesh Shetty tried to soar higher and higher, but in the process attracted too much heat, leading to his downfall. Mulund police have arrested the self-proclaimed president of Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) - the labour guild affiliated to the grand old party - after several charges of extortion and forgery were levelled against him last year.

Shetty, who was on the run since then, allegedly also tried to extort money from a management institute founded by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Late on Saturday night, police apprehended Shetty after Sessions Court and Bombay High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea. “We arrested him on March 23. He was produced in Bhoiwada Holiday Court yesterday, where he made bail after paying Rs 50,000,” said JJ Jadhav, senior inspector of Mulund police station.

The 31-year-old Bhandup resident was absconding since October 2012. Police had booked him, his personal assistant Ramdas Nayak and two associates - Ashish Rathod and Arun Dormise - for allegedly trying to blackmail and extort Rs 1 crore from the owner of Mulund-based MS Steel Group. While Rathod and Dormise were arrested, Nayak is still on the run.

Extortion tactics
Steel manufacturer Kirti Kumar Jain (56) was arrested by the CBI after he failed to repay a loan of Rs 7 crore from Indian Overseas Bank in March 2011. While Jain was in the investigating agency’s custody, Shetty contacted the industrialist’s wife and daughter-in-law, claiming he was on good terms with the CBI director and politicians in Delhi, and if they paid Rs 1 crore, he could manage bail for the businessman.

Jain’s family refused to take his help. After spending 15 days in CBI custody, the industrialist was released. Shetty got in touch with him, claiming the release was secured after he bribed some CBI officials and politicians. He then started demanding Rs 1 crore from Jain. Once, he seized the businessman’ s SUV and tried to lock up his factory godown. Fed up, Jain approached Mulund police and an FIR was lodged under sections 385, 387, 341, 504, 506 (II), 34, 465, 420, 468 and 471 of IPC.

During investigations, police found Shetty was neither the INTUC president, nor did he have any connections with the Congress party. In their written statements, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre and state INTUC president Jaiprakash Chhajed told the police that Shetty was misusing the party’s letterhead.

In addition, Mulund police had sometime ago issued a notice (under Section 149 of IPC) to Shetty to not organise a morcha against a management school run by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Vidyamandir Trust at Trimurti Road. Shetty was demanding some quotas in admission. He had allegedly threatened that if the management failed to obey his wishes, he would organise a morcha and shut down the institute.

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