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Mumbai teens pick up extortion tricks from TV show

The Anti-Extortion Cell of the Mumbai Police has arrested two men for allegedly threatening a city-based businessman since November. The accused, who work in Ghatkopar, allegedly sent SMSes to the victim and demanded an amount of Rs. 2 crore. The main accused, who is said to have been inspired by the television show Crime Patrol that shows stories of crime across the country, wanted the money for his father’s surgery, police said.

The extortion plan was reportedly hatched in a small lunch home owned by the father of the main accused identified as Santosh Khanwilkar (18). The lunch home was frequented by the businessman’s peon, from whom Santosh gathered information about the victim.

Santosh’s father, who worked in a private firm, had been unable to work for a few months due to some health issues. After consulting doctors, he was told to get his backbone operated which would cost around Rs. 6 to 8 lakh. Santosh, who earned only Rs. 5000 a month, planned the crime for his father’s surgery.

“The businessman started receiving SMSs from an unknown number in November. The accused also sent Whatsapp messages and even spoke to the complainant over the phone. They then sent a pen drive that had photographs of the complainant and his family,” said deputy commissioner of police (Detection) Dhananjay Kulkarni.

Santosh said he’d inform the CBI that the complainant had lots of money. He even sent a pen drive to the complainant’s address, with photos of the complainant picked up from Facebook, and a photo of a CD that he claimed had details of the complainant’s black business,” added Kulkarni.

It is learnt that Santosh, who was a big fan of the show Crime Patrol, planned his crime after watching the ones shown in the serial. He ensured that his phone, which was purchased from Chor Bazaar, was switched off except when he was sending the messages. Another interesting aspect is that the accused never bought a sim card, and used a discarded one he found.

Santosh, who thought his voice was too soft to pass off as that of an extortionist, roped in his close friend Sushant Baith (18) and asked him to threaten the victim on phone, in exchange for which he promised Sushant a 50 per cent share in the extortion amount.

After receiving constant threat calls and messages, the victim approached the Parksite police and filed a complaint. He also brought the case to the notice of the Mumbai Police’s Anti–Extortion Cell which caught Santosh and Sushant. The AEC nabbed them on December 25 from Ghatkopar and have handed them to the Parksite police for further investigation.

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