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Threat Calls Made to Haryana BJP Leader Traced to CM's Office, Case Registered

According to the police, the staff at the CMO has denied making those calls. The WhatsApp calls were traced to a UK number.

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Updated:October 24, 2018, 11:02 AM IST
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Threat Calls Made to Haryana BJP Leader Traced to CM's Office, Case Registered
Police seen guarding the house of BJP leader Chander Parkash Kathuria in Karnal.
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New Delhi: A week ago, a BJP leader from Karnal received a string of calls on his cell phone from a landline number in Chandigarh asking him to deposit 60,000 Dirhams (approximately Rs 12 lakh) in a Dubai account number or “face dire consequences”, said a report.

The caller claimed to be a cousin of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. In another call, he tried to pose as Khattar’s media advisor.

“On October 16, I received four calls on my mobile from a landline. It was followed by two WhatsApp calls from a mobile number. The caller asked me to deposit 60,000 Dirhams in a bank account in Dubai or face dire consequences. The caller also sent me an account number on WhatsApp,” Chander Prakash Kathuria, who heads the Haryana State Federation of Co-operative Sugar Mills Ltd (Sugarfed) was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

Adding further, Kathuria said: “In one call from the landline, the caller introduced himself as Vishnath Yadav Khattar and claimed to be the Chief Minister’s cousin. I asked him how could he be both — Yadav and Khattar. But he insisted that it was his correct name. In another call, the caller introduced himself as Rajiv Jain, the CM’s media advisor. But I replied that I knew Rajiv and that it was not his voice. The caller then disconnected the line. Then, I received two WhatsApp calls in which the same demand was reiterated… a bank account number was also sent.”

Sensing trouble, Kathuria alerted Karnal SP Surender Singh Bhoria and informed Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar about the calls.

To everyone’s surprise, the landline did indeed belong to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) on the fourth floor of the Haryana Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh.

“It is a serious matter. The landline number is of the CM’s office. The Chief Minister is monitoring the investigation’s progress. It seems the landline number may have been hacked. But if that is the case, it is an even more serious issue that needs to be investigated,” Rajiv Jain, Khattar’s media advisor, told The Indian Express.

Subsequently on October 17, based on Kathuria’s complaint, a case was registered at Karnal’s Civil Lines police station against unidentified persons on charges of extortion, criminal intimidation and under provisions of the IT Act.

A day later, a five-member police team headed by DSP Virender Saini arrived at the CMO to question staffers. The officials were handed over records of the last 100 calls made from the landline number.

According to the police, the staff at the CMO has denied making those calls. The WhatsApp calls were traced to a UK number.

“We have questioned 7-8 officials at the CMO, one after the other. All of them have denied making any phone call to Mr Kathuria,” a police officer investigating the case told The Indian Express.

Haryana DGP BS Sandhu said the matter is being investigated.

Kathuria has alleged that it is a political conspiracy against BJP leaders. Meanwhile, in the wake of the threat, , Kathuria and his family have been provided police protection.
| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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