Extortionist gang posing as reporters arrested

Saturday, December 25, 2010

NEW DELHI - A gang of four posing as press reporters was arrested in Delhi for extorting money, police said Saturday adding that a woman holding a journalism degree was the leader of the extortionist group.

Rajan, Sonu Kumar, Mamta Chopra and the mastermind of the racket Simran Gupta used to pose as press reporters. They were running this racket since last one year, said Sanjay Kumar Jain, north-east district deputy commissioner of police.

The arrest came following a complaint by one of the victims, Kasim, who was being blackmailed by the gang for an illegal construction in Seemapuri area of east Delhi.

Kasim informed us that some people, claiming to be from the press, were blackmailing him. They demanded Rs.25,000 and warned that otherwise they would expose his illegal construction through the press. They also threatened to get his house demolished, said Jain.

According to Kasim, he had already paid the extortionists Rs.10,000, but they kept asking for more.

On Dec 21, the police nabbed Rajan and Sonu Kumar who came to collect the second instalment of the extortion amount from the victim.

We recovered Rs.5,000 from them along with a movie camera and a microphone. On further interrogation, the two led us to Simran Gupta and Mamta Chopra on Dec 23, said Jain.

The police also found out that Simran Gupta had floated a news agency, which used to publish a local weekly newspaper named Surag Suspense.

According to the official, they used to publish news of illegal constructions or illegal occupations of land and blackmailed the people involved.

Police also said the gang had contacts with officials in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

It was MCD officials who told them about Kasim illegally constructing a house. The gang told Kasim that they have information from the MCD about the unauthorised construction, the official said.

The probe also revealed that the gang posed as staff of the vigilance department and carried a wireless communication set to prove their identity.

Five wireless communication sets, a number of press identity card stickers, two handicams, a digital camera, several mobile phones and microphones, a diary, computers and CDs have been recovered, added the official.

Simran Gupta’s certificate says she holds a degree in jurnalism from the Jamia Milia University.

Initially, she worked in a national daily newspaper and established contacts with some officials of MCD, the official said.

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