Police use WhatsApp to arrest extortionist
Man used to pose as journalist or policeman and extract money from businessmen; police used his WhatsApp profile picture to get to him; culprit has several cases registered against him across the city
A small-time extortionist and blackmailer who thought he was too smart for everyone, was outsmarted by the police and duly apprehended. Mohammad Farooq Abdul Kadar Khan (33) went around pretending to be a press reporter, a policeman or sometimes even an activist.
He, along with an associate, would study businessmen closely. They would observe his cash flows and income sources. After gathering enough information, Khan would confront the target and demand money from him. If the target refused, Khan would threaten to expose the businessman’s black money and illegal dealings. Frightened, the victim would pay up.
A case was registered last month at the Pydhonie police station by a south Mumbai-based businessman, who complained of blackmail by Khan. In response, the police formed a team comprising assistant police inspector Rajesh Pukade, assistant sub-inspector Jaywant Shirke and constables Vilas Hakke, Dinkar Patil and Lahu Pawar. But the team couldn’t find any leads and went back to the complainant.
“The victim had been asked for Rs 5,000 again by Khan, who had also left his number with him,” said an officer from the Pydhonie police station. When officers called the number, it was switched off. That was when it struck them to check the man’s profile on WhatsApp, a popular messaging service. It was there that the police got hold of his display picture.
The officer further said, “We saved his image and then verified it with the complainant. After getting the confirmation, our local sources were notified. One of our sources told us that Khan would either be in Trombay or Vashi, following which we checked his Trombay residence and arrested him on November 6.”
There are several cases of extortion registered against Khan with the Ghatkopar, Nehru Nagar, Shivaji Nagar, Trombay and MRA Marg police stations. After his arrest by Pydhonie police, the accused was later released on bail. But, Khan went back to his old ways, after which the MRA Marg police arrested him.
The accused has now been booked under sections 170 (personating a public servant), 384 (extortion) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. The accomplice is still absconding.