Day after kingpin’s arrest, gang that targeted corporates busted
The gang, police said, would front themselves as a legitimate law firm, buy shares in companies and then would use their position as shareholders to “blow the whistle” on alleged irregularities within the firm.Updated: Jun 30, 2019 02:43 IST
Two days after a 58-year-old man was arrested for extorting a top official of a financial services company in Gurugram, police claim they have discovered an organised racket that targeted such large corporate houses in the country.
The gang, police said, would front themselves as a legitimate law firm, buy shares in companies and then would use their position as shareholders to “blow the whistle” on alleged irregularities within the firm. Such allegations would affect the company’s share prices. The gang would then approach a top official with an “offer” to drop the complaints or not “leak” information, for a price.
Police said the gang may have targeted more than 50 companies this way in the last one year in different cities, including Gurugram and Mumbai.
The gang was busted after the arrest of advocate Rammani Pandey on Thursday, said police, after they had allegedly tried to extort ₹10 crores from Indiabulls’s chief general manager in return for not leaking company data. His son Kislay Pandey is still at large and is suspected to have fled the country.
“The two run a law firm from Delhi under the name Managium Juris LLP with around 10 people, while advertising on their website a firm of 3,000 lawyers. A structured and organised set-up enables to project themselves as a legitimate firm,” said Muhammad Akil, police commissioner.
In a raid at the offices of Managium Juris at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg in Delhi, police found over a hundred blank vakalatnamas (affidavits) in favour of Kislay and his father by people who are allegedly made “whistleblowers”. “We also found signed complaints by a person named Vikash Shekhar against many companies, including SREI Finance, YesBank, Edelweiss, IIFL, and others addressed to various government authorities,” said the police officer. “We recovered even signed withdrawal letters sent to government departments nailing the allegation of blackmailing corporates.”
In the Indiabulls case, for example, police recovered numerous petitions against the company in the name of people based out of cities and villages from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Purva Popli, a former employee of Kislay Panday and a resident of Paschim Vihar in Delhi, gave a police complaint against Kislay and his father on June 17. In it she claimed that the company had drafted various malafide complaints and petitions in the names of different people under their instruction.
HT is in possession of all the copies of FIR and affidavits.
When Rammani Pandey was questioned, police said they had discovered more cases against the father-son duo at different police stations. Delhi’s Seemapuri police station records showed that there are at least four cases against the duo filed between the years 2002 and 2011 for offences such as cheating, fraud, extortion, blackmailing, threatening and offences under the Arms Act.
“Rammani Pandey was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2002 when he posed as a journalist and defrauded PNB Housing by taking crores in loans by fabricating birth certificates, residential proof documents and salary slips of 32 fictitious employees including him and his wife,” said Akil.
Akil said they are reaching out to all the companies who were targeted by the gang members. “We will send our crime teams to all the companies targeted by these men and will collect evidence to ensure they get convicted and others learn a lesson. We are also investigating the amount they have extorted so far and how many people are involved in the gang. We have involved cyber-crime cell and will recover their computers and other gadgets from their office and will also question people who have worked in their office in the past,” he said.
First Published: Jun 30, 2019 02:43 IST