1 held for helping gangster make extortion calls to movie producer

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1 held for helping gangster make extortion calls to movie producerThe crime branch on Wednesday arrested a 45-year-old man for allegedly helping gangster Ejaz Lakdawala make extortion calls to a film producer in Mumbai.

Parvez Kayyum Qureshi, a former Chhota Rajan gang member, got himself employed at the woman’s production house and allegedly passed information about her to the gangster, to help him make the extortion calls from abroad, the police said.

The complainant is the wife of a builder who lives in Vadodara, Gujarat, and has his construction business in Vadodara and Mumbai. According to the police, her production house produced a film that was released last week, after a delay of about one year from the original intended date.

During the movie’s pre-release party in June 2014, the producer received a phone call from a man who identified himself as gangster Ejaz Lakdawala and demanded Rs3 crore. Before this, the gangster had also called on the landline of the woman’s Millat Nagar residence and demanded the money, the police said.

The complainant registered an FIR with the Oshiwara police and in July, approached the joint commissioner of police (crime), who then asked the anti-extortion cell to investigate the matter.

“The producer’s husband expressed suspicions about Qureshi. The investigators were watching Qureshi’s movements, but he went to his Pune home a few days later. From there, he went into hiding,” said a crime branch officer.

On Tuesday, the crime branch received information that Qureshi would come to his house in the city. Acting on the tip off, the police laid a trap and nabbed him.

Police said Qureshi has many criminal cases, including murder, attempt to murder and extortion, on his name. “We are trying to find out if he took someone’s help to gain information about the producer,” said an officer.

Investigators are yet to seize the phone and the SIM card with which Qureshi allegedly contacted the gangster.

The police are probing if Qureshi provided information about other businessmen too to the gangster.

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