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Delhi Police Arrests Murder Convict, Seven Others for Trying to Extort Rs 2.5 Crore from Businessman

Representative image.

Representative image.

One of the eight accused arrested in the case is a convict in the high-profile Soumya Vishwanathan murder case, wherein a TV journalist was shot and killed in New Delhi in 2008.

New Delhi: The Delhi Police has arrested eight persons, including two from Tihar Jail, for allegedly trying to extort Rs 2.5 crore from a businessman in Rajender Nagar here, it said on Monday.

One of the accused, Amit Shukla (42), was convicted in the 2008 murder case of television journalist Soumya Vishwanathan while his associate Naveen Dabas (30), convicted in other cases, were arrested in Tihar after obtaining permission from a city court, the police said.

Varun Vashisht (23), Lakhan Verma (28), Sushil (27), Nitesh Phore (25), Ankit (23), all members of the Neeraj Bawana gang, were also arrested, along with Abhay Arora (27), a former business partner of the victim, according to the police.

The matter was reported to the police on February 23, when two boys arrived at the victim's house and opened fire, in which the latter and his 12-year-old nephew were injured.

In his complaint, the victim stated that he had received WhatsApp calls from unknown numbers demanding Rs 2.5 crore. The caller told him that he was a notorious criminal and if the said amount was not paid, the victim will face bullets.

Despite many such calls, he had taken the matter lightly and not informed the police, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Sanjay Bhatia said.

During the investigation, the WhatsApp calls received by the victim were analysed and subsequently, Arora was arrested from Palam Vihar, the officer said.

A mobile phone seized from Arora allegedly had voice recordings of Dabas and Shukla, which were sent to him by Verma, he added.

During interrogation, Arora disclosed that he had a dispute with the victim and his brother over money involved in a joint venture and wanted to take revenge.

He sought help from Verma, who told Arora that his brother-in-law Sushil, who was marked as a "bad character" at the Pul Pahladpur police station, had a nexus with gangsters operating in Delhi and they could extort money from his partner.

Verma further introduced Arora to Sushil and the extortion amount was fixed at Rs 2.5 crore, the DCP said.

A police team tracked Verma's mobile phone and he was arrested from Vikashpuri. His mobile phone was also seized, the officer said.

Subsequently, Sushil was arrested from Jangpura.

After the extortion amount was fixed, Sushil contacted Dabas and Shukla, whom he had met in Tihar Jail earlier, he added.

Dabas and Shukla made extortion calls to the victim and sent proof of the calls to Sushil on WhatsApp, the DCP said.

Investigations revealed that Nitesh, along with other associates, was involved in attacking the house of the victim, he said, adding that they too were arrested.

A sophisticated pistol, three live cartridges, five mobile phones and a scooter used in the commission of the crime were seized from the possession of the accused, the police said.

first published:March 16, 2020, 23:00 IST