A Panchkula resident who had allegedly been extorting money from local businessmen by masquerading as a member of a terrorist outfit was arrested by the police’s operation cell on Friday. The man, identified as Jasvir Singh Maan alias Jassi, 45, who is wanted in several immigration fraud cases, had reportedly sent letters to many Sector 17 shop owners in which he claimed to have links with the outlawed Babbar Khalsa International group and threatened them with dire consequences unless they paid up.
Giving details, DIG AS Cheema said Maan, who resides in Sector 24, Panchkula, sent threatening letters through courier from Amritsar to a Sector 17 businessman, asking him to pay Rs 31 lakh to his ‘sewadar’ who would come to the designated place between September 21 and 23 to collect the money. However, nobody turned up.
Cheema said Mann again dispatched letters to the owners of two shoe stores in Sector 17 and demanded Rs 51 lakh from each of them, asking them to come to Hotel Himmani in Solan, Himachal Pradesh with the money. “We laid a trap at the hotel and arrested the man who turned up to collect the money from the businessmen. He was identified as Ranjit Singh, a taxi driver from Solan,” he added.
Ranjit told the police a man claiming to be a ‘jathedar’ called him up and asked him to collect the bags containing the money from the hotel in Solan and drop them at Hotel Paragaon. Later, as instructed, he told the caller he had collected the money.
The cops then arrived at Hotel Paragaon, where Ranjit was approached by two men who were apprehended when they took the money. The duo told the police the ‘jathedar’ had called them up and told them to come with the bags of money along with Ranjit to Sector 11, Panchkula.
How cops tracked the accused
The police arrested Jasvir Singh Maan after tracking calls made on the mobile phones of Ranjit Singh and the other three suspects. Mann, who is wanted in several immigration fraud cases filed against him by the Zirakpur police, was sent to four-day police remand. He had roped in several accomplices, whom he contacted only on their cellphones, to actually get hold of the extortion money without being arousing suspicions of the police.
Jasvir Singh Maan is a school graduate and is married with two children. He was earlier running fraudulent immigration rackets in various places in Punjab and Haryana and had cheated many people. During questioning he told the police he had adopted the modus operandi to extort businessmen after watching a Bollywood movies, ‘D-Company,’ in which the villain manages to remain hidden by operating by phone.