The Mumbai police claimed to have busted an extortion-gang led by Aftab Alam alias Haji, a close aide of fugitive gangster Chhota Rajan, with the arrest of six men.
They were arrested under section 387 (extortion) of IPC by the anti-extortion cell last month and are currently in judicial custody, police said.
The arrested men were identified as Vinod Rajpethe, 26, Shailesh Uttekar, 40, Gopal Shetty, 34, Keshav Bhanage, 28, Prashant Shankar, 25, and Nadeem Kazi, 49.
They were operating in Navi Mumbai and suburban Dahiasar, police said.
Deputy commissioner of police Dhananjay Kulkarni said, “A case of extortion was lodged on June 9 by a businessman who said he was getting threat calls from Bangkok and from some local numbers. Callers were demanding Rs 15 crore from him.
“After studying the threat calls minutely, our men alerted local intelligence network and detained four persons. Following the probe, two more people were arrested,” said Kulkarni.
Describing the modus operandi of the gang, Kulkarni said, “They moved around Navi Mumbai calling themselves estate agents to collect information about the ongoing (construction) projects and lands available for development. The information was then passed on to Haji, who is based in Malaysia.
“Haji would then make threat calls for extortion (to concerned builders, etc.) and rope in his men here to settle the case. The accused used to collect the money here as ‘settlement fee’ in crores,” he added.
Haji is a close aide of fugitive gangster Chhota Rajan, a statement issued by Mumbai police said.
Police also seized a pistol and two live cartridges from the arrested men.