Kerala

Kingpin of blackmailing racket nabbed

Seven now held in the racket and two more remain to be nabbed

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the racket that duped young women and blackmailed them arrested one more person on Saturday.

The arrested was identified as Shereef, who, according to the police, was the ‘mastermind’ behind the nefarious plans of the racket. With his arrest, the number of arrests rose to seven and at least two more remain to be caught.

Apart from Shereef, the other major player of the racket was Rafeeque, who was among the four persons arrested initially, the police said. It was Rafeeque, already married and father of two, who played the role of the potential bridegroom of actor Shamna Kasim from behind the curtain that eventually led to the busting of the racket.

A TikTok video of Shereef posing before a police vehicle was shot by the fraudsters, according to police, which was later used to impress their victims about their connections. In fact, Shereef had the number of Rafeeque saved in the name of some senior police officer to further win the trust of their unsuspecting victims.

The police, however, are yet to piece together the modus operandi of the racket that had previously baited young women with acting offers. “They probably chose her as their ‘big ticket’ victim. We are probing what was their larger plan behind attempting to entice her with a marriage proposal,” said Vijay Sakhare, District Police Chief (Kochi City).

The police are learnt to have invoked serious charges in all seven FIRs, including human trafficking charges, while another two more FIRs are likely to be registered shortly.

Meanwhile, one of the victims, who tried to lodge a petition in a city station as early as in March, hinted at the involvement of more people and aired her concerns about personal safety.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 10:04:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kingpin-of-blackmailing-racket-nabbed/article31934467.ece

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