Merely two months after his release from prison, where he had spent 22 years, 46-year-old Mohammad Arshad Shaikh alias Chhota Arshad was arrested by the Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Mumbai crime branch. Lakdawala, 37, the other accused in the case, is notorious gangster Ejaz Lakdawala cousin.
Shaikh had served 22 years in prison for murder, but allegedly took to crime again. The AEC is looking out for two more accused involved in the matter.
According to an officer from the AEC, a businessman from Malwani had sold a tenement to someone for Rs17 lakh.
“When Sameer came to know about the transaction, he informed Shaikh. The two then summoned the buyer and seller of the flat. The accused threatened them that if in the future, the duo did not give them their commission for a sale, they would forcefully take the entire amount,” the officer said. “The accused also bashed up the complainant,” the officer added.
The victim informed the crime branch. Joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy asked the AEC to investigate the matter. Following this, the AEC arrested Shaikh and Sameer, while two other accused are currently on the run.
The officer added that Shaikh has at least nine cases, ranging from murder to possession of firearms, registered against him in Mumbai and Thane.
Sameer, arrested in 2003 on charge of extortion, on the other hand calls himself ‘RTI activist’, and gathers information about any illegal construction going on in the area, said the officer.
“He then informs Shaikh, who uses the information to extort money from the builder. Sameer also uses the name of his cousin brother Ejaz Lakdawala to scare the victims into giving them money,” the officer added.
The accused were remanded to police custody till November 27.