Paulson Joseph, who organised the Chembur Christmas-eve bash that saw five policemen suspended, was arrested for coercing 164 families to sign a reconstruction proposal that would benefit a builder.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone VI, Dilip Sawant said that along with Joseph, Prema — the widow of Sadhu Shetty, a top aide of underworld kingpin Chhota Rajan — was also arrested on charges including extortion and criminal intimidation.
Tilak Nagar police said Jatin Mehta, proprietor of Arihant Realtors, on whose behalf the two had acted, will be questioned. “We are collecting evidence to establish Mehta’s role before arresting him,” said Vilas Shinde, police inspector at the Tilak Nagar police station.
Police said Joseph (46) and Prema (45) had threatened to kill the secretary and members of the Marathwada Cooperative Housing Society at Panchsheel Nagar for not agreeing to the terms and conditions of the redevelopment under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority scheme.
The two had demanded that the secretary of the society, Niyamat Sayyed (36), chairman, Mukund Dabhade and a few others from the society hand over the building for re-development by Mehta.
Sayyed told police that after they refused to accept Mehta’s terms, they brought the matter to the notice of SRA officials. “For the last four months, we’ve been summoned to Prema’s seventh floor flat in Neelkanth Tower near Amar Mahal in Chembur to discuss the deal with the builder,” said Sayyed.
“During the meeting, Joseph and Prema would threaten us to sign the deal at gunpoint.
On all four occasions, they made me speak to Rajan, who demanded I do what they wanted,” he added.
During questioning, Prema said she owned three flats in the society. Joseph, a former local NCP leader, once worked as driver for key Rajan aide Pradeep Madgaonkar.
In 2007, he was arrested for criminal intimidation, threatening and extortion. Joseph reportedly handles Rajan’s financial interests.
The five policemen suspended after Joseph’s party had been caught on camera while partying with the gangsters.