A few months ago, a middle-aged businessman was abducted and taken to a godown in outer Delhi’s Narela area. He was made to strip and pose with a woman — member of the gang — in compromising positions, while the act was being filmed.
The man was then robbed of his cash and belongings and dumped in Mangolpuri area.
And the horror did not end here. The businessman then started receiving several extortion calls from the robbers, who threatened to make the video public.
Police say this is one of the latest modus operandi extortionists are using these days to blackmail people. Though no organised gangs are operating in the city, an average of 12 extortion cases were being reported every month — a rise of nearly 70 per cent. Last year, the figure was eight.
The police had expected the tide of such crimes to stem after Neeraj Bawana, who was on the list of Delhi Police’s most wanted criminals, was arrested in December last year. But sources said they were alarmed when the percentage went up.
“Increase in extortion cases means that small-time criminals are at work. Most of them threaten businessmen and extort money from them. A number of them may be doing this in Bawana’s name. But we haven’t come across with any such organised gang,” a senior police officer said, requesting anonymity.
Former Delhi Police commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma, however, contested this claim, saying any first-time criminal would never indulge in extortion.
“It is always the experienced criminals who use Bawana’s name to extort money. First-time criminals are not so experienced to threaten someone and they often get caught too,” Sharma said.
Police personnel working with the anti-extortion cell admitted that many known criminals make calls from in Tihar to extort money.
“There have been instances when we intercepted extortion calls to Delhi businessmen made from Tihar jail. Criminals also sometimes make calls, claiming they are in Tihar jail and extort money,” the official said.
Last year, two men were arrested after they demanded Rs 3 lakh as protection money from a Malviya Nagar-based businessman after introducing themselves as Tihar inmates.
Another crime, which is keeping the Delhi Police on their toes, are cases of abduction. Against 30 cases last year, 110 cases of abduction have been registered till March 14, a rise of 260%.
Blackmailed by someone he knew well
I now don’t give lifts even to those I know after being blackmailed by an acquaintance.
I was going to Greater Kailash, when I saw this acquaintance asking for a lift. He asked me to drop him to his new house in Nehru Place. When we reached there. He insisted that I visit his new home, to which I finally agreed.
When I entered his house, two men overpowered me and removed my clothes. They filmed me with a woman.
Soon, I started getting extortion calls and initially paid over R1 lakh. But I was unable to meet their growing demands.
Finally, I filed an FIR at the Amar Colony police station. Two men along with the woman were arrested and most of the money I paid was recovered. Their interrogation revealed they had cheated 18 people this way.
The woman would lure the target to her home, the two men used to click his picture and blackmail him. To avoid embarrassment, most of the people did not file a police complaint.
(Name withheld to protect identity)