A private detective has been arrested for allegedly extorting Rs 1 crore from a suspended IAS officer of Maharashtra, a senior police officer said here on Friday.
“A private detective and his wife were arrested by the Thane Anti-Extortion Cell on Thursday from a rented flat in Dombivli town. We have recovered two laptops, 15 CDs, five mobile handsets, four pen-drives, and other incriminating documents from their home,” Thane Police Commissioner Parambir SinghSingh told media persons.
Satish Sakharam Mangle, who runs a private detective agency, and his second wife Shraddha, were caught red-handed accepting the amount at their home in Dombivali on Thursday by a decoy police team.
They had attempted to extort Rs 10 crore from the former Maharashtra State Roads Development Corporation vice-chairman & managing director Radheshyam Mopalwar, but after negotiations, agreed to settle for Rs 7 crore.
“They even threatened him on October 31 at a five-star hotel in Mumbai that if he (Mopalwar) failed to pay up the Rs 70 million extortion amount, they would hire a criminal gang to eliminate him and his daughter, Tanvi,” Singh said.
Giving further details, he said that the case dates back to August 1, when hoping to blackmail and extort money from Mopalwar, the Mangles handed him an audio tape of an alleged corruption matter.
Subsequently, they also met several politicians from different parties to level wild allegations of graft against Mopalwar, who was subsequently suspended from his post by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis after a sting operation of his alleged corrupt deals were highlighted in the print and electronic media.
On October 23, the Mangles and their associate Anil Vedmehta, summoned Mopalwar through his friend Kling Mishra, to a hotel near the Kharegaon Toll Plaza on the Mumbai-Nashik highway and demanded Rs 10 crore for withdrawing all complaints of corruption and handing over all the audio tape recordings to him.
Of this, Mopalwar agreed to pay an up front amount of Rs 1 crore to Mangle in Thane.
Following a complaint lodged by Mopalwar, the Thane police laid a trap and nabbed Mangle red-handed taking the money, delivered by a plainclothed police team.
Incidentally, investigators said Mangle was a mediator in the divorce between Mopalwar and his (ex)-wife and took advantage of his personal relations with the suspended bureaucrat.
Last year, through an associate, Mangle had alleged demanded Rs 56 lakh from Mopalwar at the MSRDC office in Bandra and a complaint was lodged with the local police.
Singh said that Mangle was a SSC pass and later drop-out of a diploma course in computers after which he launched his own private detective agency. He had developed contacts with senior government officers and was adept at recording telephone calls which he used for his rackets.
Mangle has been booked under various IPC sections, besides a case registered against him with the Bandra Police under the IT Act, and a rape case with Mira Road (Thane) Police.