The West Bengal government is keeping a low key the Indian Mujahideen extortion calls to a leading hotelier and two shoe barons in Kolkata, demanding Rs 40 crore.
So much so that even top police officers are not willing to go on record about the calls. The first call came to the hotelier on February 23 by Karachi-based IM founder Amir Reza Khan.
The calls were made from a mobile phone registered in Cairo, but the police traced it back to Karachi.
“Khan himself made the calls and demanded Rs 20 crore from the hotelier,” a senior police official said on conditions of anonymity.
Khan, who was behind the attack on the city’s American Centre in 2002, killing four policemen on the spot, had abducted one of the shoe barons targeted this time also in 2001.
The hotelier went to Kolkata Police’s Deputy Commissioner, detective department, Damayanti Sen after receiving a second call on the hotel’s board number. The shoe barons received calls during the same week with demand for Rs 10 crore each.
“Some of them met me on Monday. I asked them to take care of themselves and move around carefully,” state chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said on Tuesday.
Kolkata Police has deployed plainclothesmen around the offices of the three businessmen. State home secretary Ardhendu Sen said others would also be provided security if they wanted.
While the hotelier and one of the shoe barons lodged unofficial complaints, the other did not approach the police. On the basis of the complaints, the police initiated cases on different dates last week.
“Two different cases have been lodged at two police stations after the police received official complaints from the businessmen,” said Damayanti Sen.
Although the anti-rowdy section under Sen’s department initially took up the cases, Kolkata Police’s anti-terrorist special task force has been assigned to investigate the cases because of Khan’s involvement.