The gang had laid out an elaborate trap to ensnare Nippon India president Hardev Singh. One member posed as an assistant director of ED overseeing what turned out to be a fake case involving Singh. Two others posed as the assistant director’s PA and chauffeur driving a vehicle sporting a ‘government of India’ sticker, the fourth as a politician and the rest as middlemen. The gang demanded Rs 20 crore from Singh to settle the case. The suspect who posed as the ED officer works in Assam Rifles.
Crooks threatened to attach MNC executive’s properties if not paid crores
The one who used to impersonate a politician is actually a member of a political party, Delhi Police said. The arrested men were identified as Akhilesh Mishra, Darshan Harish Joshi, Vinod Kumar Patel, Dharmender Kumar Giri, Naresh Mahto, Asrar Ali, Vishnu Prasad, Devender Kumar Dubey and Gajender.
Special commissioner of police (crime) Ravindra Singh Yadav said Hardev Singh, president of Nippon India Paints Ltd, had filed a complaint that he had received two ED notices. “His colleague was informed by one Akhilesh Mishra that ED had registered a case against them and he can help them sort out the matter through his sources,” Yadav said. Mishra again made a phone call and said he could sort out the issue with the help of his contacts in the ED office. Singh was later served with multiple notices via speed post. “He contacted one of the accused, who initially demanded Rs 2-3 crores and asked him to meet in Delhi,” police said.
Between November 9 and 14, Mishra, his son and Joshi tried several times to contact the complainant from different mobile numbers and tried to threaten him. On November 11, Singh talked to Joshi on the phone and started negotiating the amount to get notice cancelled, on which the accused insisted on meeting for a settlement. On November 12, the complainant met Mishra and Joshi at the Mumbai airport.
The accused told the complainant that the latter’s properties worth thousands of crores have been found by ED and the issue will be settled only with crores of rupees, for which Mishra and Joshi will have to go to Delhi. Singh booked air tickets for both the accused from Mumbai to Delhi for November 14 and a meeting was fixed at the Ashoka Hotel. The accused meanwhile upped their demand to Rs 20 crore for settlement.
A case was registered on the basis of the complaint and a team led by DCP (crime) Rohit Meena was formed. The team raided the hotel and nabbed Mishra and Joshi.
During the course of the inquiry, it was found that three of their associates were present in a hotel room. Patel, Giri and Mahto were nabbed from the hotel room and on the their instance other accused were nabbed from Delhi, police said.
Mishra, a salesman, is the mastermind who used to threaten the victims. Joshi, a trader, was helping his friend Mishra. “Patel claims to be a social worker and an active politician working for an established political party. Patel had asked Asrar to arrange summons to be sent to the victims. Giri and Ismail used to send ED’s fake summons to the victims. Prasad worked as the PA to a former Lok Sabha MP. He had arranged for a person to play the role of ED officer for the meeting with the complainant,” police said.
“Prasad contacted Dubey (Assam Rifles) and convinced him to play the role of ED officer. Gajender works as a driver for a private company that as a tender for ‘pick and drop’ of senior government officers. His job was to transport accused people from one location to another, special CP Yadav added.
Mahto, who has a transport company transporting oil from Haldia to the northeast, had joined the gang to earn quick bucks.