Two self-proclaimed journalists landed into the custody of the police for trying to extort money from a slum-dweller in Bhayandar on Monday. The duo had demanded money to refrain from reporting the complainant’s repair work as an illegal construction and get the tenement in Nehru Nagar demolished by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC).
Claiming to be reporters, the duo who have been identified as-Rahul Singh and Arvind Rajbhar demanded Rs. 20,000 from the complainant to keep mum on the illegal repair work.
The complainant informed the police about the demands. Sensing the seriousness of the matter, the on-duty police personnel in an attempt to gather evidence and nab the accused red-handed asked him to negotiate with the accused duo following which the demand was scaled down to Rs. 7,000.
The police laid a trap and arrested the duo after they came to collect the first installment of Rs.5,500 (marked notes) in the Shiv Sena Lane area of Bhayandar (west) on Monday. An offence under section 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the IPC has been registered against the accused who have been remanded to custody.
The arrest has once again put the spotlight on well-oiled rackets involving unscrupulous elements who pretend to be journalists and gather information about illegal construction activities in the area and blackmail the person with threats of getting the structure demolished with the help of civic officials.