Extortion victims helped gang land govt contracts: Police
A special investigation team (SIT) formed by the Madhya Pradesh police is looking at around 1,000 videos stored in the phones of racketeers who extorted money from influential people in a honey trapping network the police believe is spread across three states -- MP, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
Members of the gang also received key government contracts with the help of the around 50 extortion victims, who included politicians and bureaucrats they had snared into indiscreet sexual affairs, the police said.The racketeers also lured young women whom they used to honey-trap the men.
The racket came to light last week with the arrest of six suspects including five women. Indore police identified the suspects as Aarti Dayal, 29, Shweta Swapnil Jain, 39,Barkha Soni Bhatnagar,34, and Omprakash Kori, 45 all from Bhopal; Monica Yadav, 18, from Rajgarh; and Shweta Vijay Jain, 48, from Sagar;
“Aarti Dayal, one of the accused, and Abhishek came to our village and convinced us that they would bear all the expenses of my daughter’s education and help her get a government job,” said Hira Lal Yadav, whose daughter Monica has filed a separate case claiming she was snared into the scandal with the promise of a government job.
Lal claimed that his daughter had told him that Dayal and others had lured many young women on the pretext of providing them government jobs and forced them to honey trap influential people. “My daughter told me to inform villagers not to send their daughters with Dayal as she was not a good person,” he claimed.
Senior superintendent of police, Indore, Ruchi Vardhan Mishra said the racketeers will also be booked for human trafficking.
SIT took over the investigation on Wednesday from Indore Police, which had received a complaint from Indore Municipal Corporation engineer Harbhajan Singh, who accused the gang members of blackmailing him and demanding Rs 3 crore.
Mishra said the accused hadn’t been cooperating in the investigation.Dayal often fainted, which made her interrogation difficult, she said
An SIT officer familiar with the investigation said the evidence gathered so far suggested that this gang engaged several other women to target those in “positions of power,” and will investigate the spread of the racket to states such as Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
The SIT officer quoted above said on condition of anonymity that the gang blackmailed influential persons to procure contracts for non-government organizations they were running from Bhopal, and for their relatives.
The SIT officer said that the gang members used to send videos to the extortion victims through WhatsApp, which they used to delete later. For extorting money, they used to fix meeting with their targets with a help of a third person, who used to get paid a commission, the officer said.
“SIT will also check the bank accounts, property and assets details to know the extent of the scandal. The bank statements will also help in corroborating the fact of extortion,” said another police in the SIT, who also requested anonymity.