He allegedly hacked into her email account, and then threatened to make certain photographs of her public unless she coughed up $100,000. The recent case of Mumbai-based businessman Junaid Khan threatening sitar player and daughter of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, Anoushka Shankar, seems straight out of a Bollywood potboiler.
Anoushka didn’t play the damsel in distress, though; she took a strong stand against it. A statement issued by Jennifer Braxmeyer, assistant to the Shankars, explains how the blackmailer was nabbed. The statement reads:
“Though the extortion case became public only recently, this matter has been under investigation for several months by Criminal Investigators with the Gavin de Becker firm in the US.”
In true Hollywood style, the investigators posed as Anoushka to draw out the extortionist. “While Anoushka was made aware of every email sent by the extortionist, replies to the extortionist were actually composed by Criminal Investigators — not by Anoushka. Emails supposedly from Anoushka were actually written by investigators to draw out the extortionist,” it reads.
And while tabloids have been playing guessing games over what Khan was blackmailing Anoushka with, the statement clarifies, “The extortionist made several references to selling material to tabloids. Though we do not know all details about the material the extortionist had in his possession, we’re told it includes some photos and stolen emails that might have been modified to enhance their value.”
So what made Anoushka stand up against all odds? “Despite the repercussions and public angle to it, Anoushka’s upbringing and strong family support made her take a stand against this heinous act of blackmail and do what she believes in,” says Braxmeyer.