The anti-extortion cell of city police yesterday arrested two brothers for allegedly extorting Rs 61.5 lakh from Datta Phuge, a chit fund businessman, who made headlines by getting himself a Rs 1.27 crore shirt that was made of 3.25 kg gold.
The duo - Ashok Kotwal (a local leader) and his brother - blackmailed Phuge by threatening him that if he didn’t pay them Rs 1 crore, then they would inform Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) officials about his wife Seema’s fake OBC certificate, which she had submitted to the election commission to claim candidature from Bhosari area during the civic elections. Seema had contested on a NCP ticket and had won the seat.
Despite taking Rs 61.5 lakh from Phuge, the duo filed a complaint with the PCMC and even called a press conference on March 31 last year to expose Seema, following which her membership got cancelled.
Enraged, Phuge went to their house and demanded his money back. However, the brothers threatened him at gunpoint and also fired a round in the house to scare him.
According to police, Kotwal’s wife Sarika had lost to Seema in the election, and to avenge the defeat, he filed an RTI application and came to know that she had submitted a fake caste certificate.
“After getting the incriminating documents through RTI, both the accused were blackmailing Phuge. They had threatened him that if they reveal it to the PCMC, Seema will have to resign and may even have to go to jail,” said PI Sachin Sawant of anti extortion cell.
He added that as the threatening calls from Kotwal became unbearable, Phuge approached the crime branch and registered a complaint against the accused.
“Phuge, in his complaint, has also alleged that the duo had once slapped his son and had threatened to eliminate the entire family,” Sawant said.
“We have arrested both brother under relevant Sections of IPC and Arms Act and both would be produced before the court on Wednesday (today),” he said.