New Delhi: A 27-year-old man, who allegedly posed as an underworld don and demanded money from businessmen here, has been arrested, the police said today.
Pranay Tiwari worked as a supervisor at store in a prominent south Delhi mall. He used the information filled by customers in feedback forms to identify his victims and make the extortion calls, they said.
On August 28, a west Delhi-based businessman lodged a police complaint alleging that a man claiming to be a don by the name Rizwan Khan had called him and demanded Rs 1 crore, the police said.
The caller had threatened to harm him and members of his family if he failed to pay the money, they said.
During preliminary inquiry, it was found that several businessmen in Delhi and other parts of the country had received extortion calls from the same mobile phone number.
In the other cases, too, the caller had identified himself as Khan and told them that they were under constant surveillance, the police said.
Teams of the Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Chhattisgarh police worked to get information about the accused.
They studied his modus operandi and traced him to Rewa in Madhya Pradesh. He was making the extortion calls from different locations, the police said.
A team was constituted and raids were carried out in Rewa and nearby areas, and it was found that
Tiwari was in Ratehara in Rewa, they said.
He was contacted and asked to take delivery of the money that he had demanded from the complainant. On the intervening night of September 10 and 11, a place was decided for the same.
A Crime Branch team kept the money at the place, which was chosen by the accused. He collected it at 3.45 am, assuming it was safe. However, as soon as he picked up the package and started moving, he was nabbed, the police said.
During interrogation, he said that he worked as a supervisor in a chocolate shop at Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj where it was a common practice for customers to fill feedback forms, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rajesh Deo said.
Most of the customers would fill the form thinking it would result in some a birthday discount, he said.
Since the accused had a lot of personnel information such as birthday and anniversary dates, he was able to stun his victims by revealing these details in his extortion SMSes, the officer said.
Tiwari would claim to be from the underworld and direct them pay between anything between Rs 1 and Rs 5 crore, he said.
He had been doing this since January and the police are probing whether he had actually got any extortion money, the officer said.