Bizman who blackmailed women with intimate videos had run up huge debt: Cops
The family-owned companies of one of the two businessmen arrested for blackmailing women over their private videos were loan defaulters, police said.
At least one well-known corporate bank had served multiple notices to accused Aditya Vikram Agarwal in June 2019 and members of his family who own a well-known ethnic wear chain, demanding repayment of loan that stood at around Rs 44 crore till May 1, 2018. The bank issued possession notices in regard to the properties against which the loans were taken.
HT accessed the bank notices on Thursday. Members of the family could not be contacted as they avoided the media.
According to the bank notices issued the loans were taken in separate installments against properties and assets owned by the Agarwal family. These included properties in posh neighbourhoods around Gariahat in south Kolkata.
The long mortgage list also included land and property at Dabgram in Siliguri and shop space at City Centre Mall at Matigara in Darjeeling.
Hindustan Times found that Anish Loharuka’s name appears in the list of directors of more than 40 Kolkata-based listed companies.
However, Anish Loharuka is known in Kolkata’s business circles as an owner of two hotels located close to the city’s airport. Police are probing whether the videos were shot in any of these hotels.
A police officer involved in the investigation said on condition of anonymity that Agarwal mentioned debts during interrogation. Joint commissioner of police (Crime) Murli Dhar Sharma did not comment on this issue but only confirmed the arrests.
Police had earlier found that the alleged extortion started in 2018 although Agarwal and Loharuka allegedly shot the videos since 2013.
Police first arrested Anish Loharuka’s cook Kailash Yadav based on the complaint of the woman whom Yadav had called to extort money following which the investigation had started in November 2019.
Following his arrest, Yadav informed the police about Agarwal and Loharuka.
An officer on condition of anonymity said that Yadav was used as a cover so that no suspicions would arise against the businessmen.
“It was WhatsApp messages from different women sent to the cook’s phone that led us to believe it was one of the biggest cases of extortion,” said a senior police officer.
Most of these victims of the alleged extortion are homemakers and are in their middle-age, said a police official on condition of anonymity. Some of these women were even “friends” of accused Agarwal and Loharuka.
Police had found 182 videos in the laptops of the accused.
According to a senior officer, the woman, on whose complaint the probe started in November, paid Rs 5 lakh but decided to approach the police when she was pressured to pay Rs 10 lakh more.
The accused were arrested under several sections of the IT Act and Indian Penal Code.