Four legislators in Haryana received death threat and extortion calls from multiple phone numbers tracing to the countries in the Middle East from June 24 to 28, the police said.
First Information Reports (FIRs) were lodged against the threats and had been assigned to the Haryana Special Task Force (STF) by Director General of Police (DGP), P.K. Agrawal to investigate the matter.
Later, in a joint operation conducted by the Haryana STF, central agencies, Mumbai Police Crime Branch and the Bihar STF, six criminals were arrested for their alleged involvement in threatening and making extortion calls to four Haryana MLAs, the Haryana STF officials said on Sunday.
The accused were arrested from Mumbai and Muzaffarpur in Bihar, they added.
The technical analysis of these mobile phones has confirmed that these numbers are registered in the Middle Eastern countries and were being operated from Pakistan, said an official statement.
Some former Punjab legislators had also received similar threats from these mobile numbers.
Inspector General of Police (Haryana STF), Satish Balan had formed a Special Investigation Team under the leadership of Superintendent of Police (Haryana STF), Sumit Kumar to investigate these cases.
The two-week long operation was personally monitored and supervised by Haryana DGP Agrawal.
In connection with the case, the DGP was aided by central agencies. The Haryana STF conducted a technical analysis of these mobile numbers and IP addresses.
This involved five separate teams working on this technical analysis.
To track the account numbers, two parallel teams conducted raids across Mumbai and Muzaffarpur in Bihar.
On July 19, Congress MP Deepender Hooda targeted the Haryana government and demanded a white paper on the state’s law and order situation.
“Unfortunate that five Haryana MLAs received life threats in past 10 days and the government was neither able to find out culprits nor provide a safe environment for the MLAs. The mining mafia is showing its ugly face. The Chief Minister should take up responsibility and issue a white paper on the state’s law and order,” Hooda said.
Those arrested have been identified as Dulesh Alam, a resident of Bettiah district, Bihar, and Badre Alam hailing from Basti district, Uttar Pradesh, were arrested from Mumbai. They were found possessing around 20 passbook/cheque books, 18 ATMs, 14 fake SIM cards, one diary and five mobile phones.
Similarly, from Muzaffarpur in Bihar, the Haryana STF arrested four more accused identified as Amit Yadav aka Radheshyam Yadav of Gopalganj district, Bihar; Saddiq Anwar of Motihari district, Bihar; Sanoj Kumar of Muzaffarpur district, Bihar; and Kash Alam of Bettiah district, Bihar.
The STF recovered two passbook/cheque books, two diaries, one register, 42 SIM cards, 19 mobile phones and 37 ATMs from the four accused.
In total 55 ATMs, 24 mobile phones, 56 SIM cards, 22 passbook/cheque books, cash worth Rs 3,97,000, one TATA Punch car, three diaries and one register have been found in the possession of these accused.
While disclosing their modus operandi, IGP (Haryana STF), Satish Balan, said, “These culprits often enticed poor or general public by offering them Rs 15,000-20,000 and convinced them to open bank accounts and would then keep all the documents (passbook/cheque book/ATM card/ATM pin) with themselves and would buy fake SIM cards to operate these accounts.”
Balan added that during the raids, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch, Bihar STF and Bihar Police offered complete support to Haryana STF.
“During interrogation, the Haryana STF found that there were 10 Pakistani residents through whom the threats and extortion were routed,” he said, adding that “these accused do not belong to any criminal gang or terrorist organisation”.
“This is a gang of trained criminals who are involved in professional fraud, and money laundering and have their members across Pakistan, the Middle East and India. People sitting across these other countries would entice victims by naming “Kaun Banega Crorepati” or lotteries or by extortion calls and would make them transfer money to the account numbers given by Dulesh or Amit. The duo then either withdraw this money through ATMs or would transfer this amount to the Indian accounts of their Pakistan-based gang members,” Haryana STF IGP said.
A different case in this regard was registered at different police stations in Haryana.