Two students have been apprehended on charges of issuing death threats to Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries, along with a demand for a ransom of Rs 400 crore. These threats were communicated through email. The Mumbai Crime Branch arrested one suspect in Gujarat, while the Gamdevi Police, under whose jurisdiction Mr. Ambani resides, apprehended another individual from Telangana. Notably, both the arrested individuals are students. The threats were made under the pseudonym "Shadab Khan."
21-year-old held from Gujarat's Kalol
The Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai Crime Branch arrested Rajveer Khant (21), a third-year B.Com student from Kalol, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Khant claimed to have sent the threatening emails to Ambani as a mere "joke." Besides Ambani, Khant also sent a threatening email to another undisclosed celebrity.
According to DCP Raj Tilak Roshan, Khant created an account on Mailfence with the ID "Shadabkhan@mailfence" and sent a threatening email from this account to Ambani's official email address. The email warned of dire consequences unless Rs 400 crore was paid.
Roshan disclosed that Khant frequented the dark web and learned that sending emails through Mailfence would provide security. The information he obtained on the dark web indicated that Mailfence's servers were based in Belgium and offered a high level of security, as the company did not share information with others. Therefore, Khant established an email ID on Mailfence's servers.
Khant confessed to the police that he sent the emails for amusement, with a total of five such emails sent. The police have seized his laptop, hard disk, and two mobile phones.
When the police arrived at his home to arrest him, Khant was preparing to take an exam. He was allowed to complete the exam before being brought to Mumbai.
The series of threatening emails occurred between October 28 and October 31.
19-year-old held from Telangana
Simultaneously, the Gamdevi police arrested Ganesh Ramesh Vanapardhi (19) from Warangal, Telangana, for sending a threatening email to Mukesh Ambani. Vanapardhi sent the email on November 1, demanding Rs 500 crore, and threatening to kill Ambani if the demand was not met. Interestingly, Warangal has a history of naxalite activity.
Vanapardhi sent the email through Gmail, which was traced by the Gamdevi police, leading to his arrest. He was subsequently presented in court, and the court remanded him to police custody until November 8.
Additional Commissioner Abhinav Deshmukh stated that Vanpardhi's location was traced using the IP address of his email ID, and Vanapardhi is studying Computer Science.
The initial threatening email was received on a Friday night, purportedly from an individual identifying as Shadab Khan. This threat was sent to Ambani's official email address from a Belgian corporate location and demanded Rs. 20 crore. The email ominously stated, "If you don't give Rs 20 crore, we will kill you. We have the best shooters in India."
On the following Saturday evening, the same email ID was used to send a second threat email, increasing the demand to Rs. 200 crore. The email threatened Ambani with dire consequences if the money was not provided.
In response to the first threat, Ambani's executive assistant informed Devendra Munshiram, the security in charge of the Antilia building, of the menacing email. Mukesh Ambani, one of Asia's wealthiest individuals, holds the ninth position on the world's rich list. As a result, he has been granted 'Z' Plus security by the central government. Ambani's family members also receive government security based on police threat assessments. The security measures around the Ambani family and their residence have been substantially heightened in light of this latest threat.
Previous threats to Ambani
It's worth noting that last October, an individual had called Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in South Mumbai, threatening to bomb the hospital and harm Ambani, his wife Nita, and their sons, Akash and Anant. In February 2021, an abandoned SUV was discovered near Antilia, Ambani's residence, containing around 20 gelatin sticks and a threatening letter. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested police encounter specialist Sachin Vaze and others in connection with this case. A group named Jaish-Ul-Hind initially claimed responsibility for the vehicle but later denied involvement.