Patrol van intercepted five men after they doused an engineer in petrol because he refused to give them Rs 10k for keeping his love affair a secret

The police have arrested five men while they were attempting to set ablaze a software engineer at a street corner in Ulhasnagar-1. The accused had been demanding Rs 10,000 from him in exchange for keeping their mouths shut about his love affair.

Caught in the act: Two of the accused who were nabbed at the scene
of the crime on February 3. Pic/Navneet Barhate

According to the police, the accused have been identified as Pravin Pagare (27), Rajendra Chavhan (27), Yogesh Navade (28), Sonu Singh Rajput (26) and Avinash Mahale (20).

The complainant, Bhagwan Shivaji Sonar (29), is a resident of Ulhasnagar-1; the accused live in the same area and knew Sonar from before. According to the Ulhasnagar police, they were demanding Rs 10,000 from Sonar for not squealing on him to his family about a relationship he is involved in. Sonar, who runs coaching classes for engineering students, refused to pay the extortion amount.

On February 3, a little after midnight, Sonar was going home on his motorbike when the accused interrupted him and demanded the money again. When Sonar refused to yield to their demand, they took out petrol from his bike and poured it on him. They were trying to light the match when a police patrol team spotted them and intervened. After rescuing Sonar, the cops arrested two of the accused from the spot. After interrogating them, the other three accused were arrested in relevance to the case.

"We have arrested the five accused. They were trying to blackmail Sonar and later tried to burn him alive," confirmed Kalyanji Ghete, police inspector (crime), Ulhasnagar-1 police station. All the accused have been arrested under Sections 397 (robbery or dacoity with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 506 (II) (criminal intimidation) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Sources also revealed that they had earlier been booked for kidnapping and thrashing a corporator's son in Bhiwandi.