Mumbai (The Hindu): The Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch on Friday evening arrested three persons who allegedly intimidated businessmen in Thane district. The accused allegedly at the behest of wanted fugitive Suresh Pujari fired shots outside business establishments and demanded money from owners. With the arrest of the trio, the police have claimed to have solved two recent cases of extortion.
Crime Branch officials said, the arrests were made following a tip-off that a few members of the Suresh Pujari gang would be in Kurla. A team of AEC personnel laid a trap in Kurla (West) and arrested the trio, identified as Rajesh Chauhan (25), Ali Khan (27) and Sudhakar Khristopriya (52).
Officers said Chauhan and Khan arrived on two bikes to meet Khritopriya when they were intercepted. The police said they recovered a 7.65 mm pistol, two magazines, eight live rounds and ?2.5 lakh in cash from the trio. They were taken to the AEC office for questioning. A Crime Branch officer said, “The trio revealed that they worked for Pujari and targeted businessmen in Thane district.
Two cases solved
Last month, they entered a wine shop in Ulhasnagar and left a note in Pujari’s name demanding extortion money. They fired a round outside the shop before leaving. On May 7, the trio threatened a hotel owner in Nallasopara in a similar manner.” The bikes used in the offences, a Karizma and a Yamaha, were stolen from Kalyan and Borivali respectively, the police said.
The officer said, “Pujari gave orders to Khristopriya and he executed them through Chauhan and Khan. They were arrested in Kurla when they had met to identify new targets. We are trying to find out the source of the weapons and the cash seized from them.”
The three were produced in court on Saturday and remanded in police custody till May 15. Pujari, who is believed to be abroad, has over the last couple of years tried to extort money from businessmen, hoteliers, wine shops owners, builders and cable operators in Thane district.
In the past two years, Mumbai police and Thane police have arrested several of his alleged aides.
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