Police have arrested five members of the Ravi Pujari gang with help from a local builder, who was getting extortion calls after his manager was kidnapped, a senior officer said.
The gangsters, Shrinivas Swami alias Raju (32), Shailesh (24), Sidesh More alias Anna (27), Ganesh Naik alias Bhau (56) and Nitesh Komu alias Raj (25), were apprehended from Khar area of western suburbs, said Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti.
According to the police, on Tuesday last the builder lodged a complaint alleging his manager had been kidnapped by gangsters claiming allegiance to Pujari, said to be based overseas, and demanded Rs 75 lakh in extortion money.
The gangsters used to call the complainant from the kidnapped manager’s mobile phone and often threatened him and demanded he shell out the money, said Bharti.
The builder also revealed that his manager was kidnapped six months ago, too, from Santacruz area of western suburbs, said DCP (Zone IX) Satyanarayan Chaudhary.
“When the manager was kidnapped six months ago, the complainant paid Rs. 30 lakh as extortion amount,” he said.
However, the realtor does not know whom he paid the money – to members of the Pujari gang or the Chhota Shakeel syndicate – as he had received threatening phone calls from both groups, said Chaudhary.
Police devised a plan to get to the criminals. They told the builder to remain in touch with the gangsters and convince them to free the manager after which he would pay Rs. 10 lakh as the first installment, said Bharti.
The Pujari gang members freed the manager in early hours of Wednesday.
The complainant called the Pujari gang members and asked them to come to a hotel in Khar to take the first installment.
Two teams of officials in plainclothes from Khar police laid a trap and arrested the five gangsters who arrived to collect the money in a van and a motorcycle, said police.
Police seized a 7.65 bore pistol, a few live cartridges, mobile phones and the two vehicles used by them.