A 27-year-old history-sheeter from Malwani was arrested on Thursday for trying to extort money from a Malad-based builder by claiming to be gangster Ravi Pujari.
According to the police, the accused, Naresh Padmarao Vanpatri, was recently employed as a driver by the victim’s cousin. During his tenure as a driver, Vanpatri sourced detailed information about the victim from his cousin.
On March 29, Vanpatri called up the victim for the first time from a number acquired by providing fake personal details to the mobile service provider.
“The accused identified him as Ravi Pujari and asked the victim to handover Rs20 lakh. He cited a few examples of shoot-outs carried out by Pujari’s gang and told him that he would meet with the same fate if he informed the police or refused him the money,” said Maruti Telang, senior police inspector of Bangur Nagar police station.
Vanpatri sent threatening messages to the victim demanding immediate payment of the ransom money. The victim had arranged for the money and had decided not to approach the police. But, he changed his mind and lodged a case on April 2.
On Wednesday, the police traced the location of the number to Malwani from where Vanpatri was arrested. “He confessed to committing the crime. He has been booked for extortion and remanded in police custody till April 17,” said Telang.
The police are now trying to ascertain if Vanpatri has previously extorted money. He was earlier arrested in connection with a robbery case and had been jailed for four years before being released recently.