Bollywood actor and filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar received extortion calls, messages and threats, demanding Rs 35 crore from a person claiming to be linked with underworld gangster Abu Salem, a convict in the 1993 serial blasts case. Manjrekar had approached Dadar Police and lodged a complaint, which was later transferred to the anti-extortion cell. Police have made one arrest and investigated the person's connections to the underworld but found none.
According to police, the filmmaker had been receiving calls and threat messages on WhatsApp from an unknown number between August 23 and 25, wherein the man, who claimed to be a part of Salem's gang, demanded Manjrekar pay up Rs 35 crore or be prepared to face dire consequences. Accordingly, Manjrekar lodged a complaint at Dadar police station on Wednesday and showed them the extortion messages and gave them the number from which they had been sent.
Since the case was linked to an extortion bid, it was transferred to the AEC, which formed two separate teams to probe the matter. The number was traced to Ratnagiri, following which teams were dispatched there to zero in on the accused, Milind Tulaskar, 34. He was then arrested and booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
During investigation, police said Tulaskar had obtained Manjrekar's number from a website and contacted him posing as a gangster. A background check of Tulaskar established he had no links to the Salem gang.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Akbar Pathan said, "The accused did small odd jobs before the lockdown and after he was left jobless during the lockdown, he started looking up different ways to earn easy money and read up on different gangsters. He picked Abu Salem's modus operandi of extortion and demanding money through hawala, following which he contacted Manjrekar and demanded Rs 35 crore."
Police also said that they had seized a mobile phone and two SIM cards from Tulaskar. An official said, Tulaskar may have been acting alone and had no connection to gangster Abu Salem. Tulaskar was produced in a local magistrate court and was remanded in police custody till September 2.