KARNATAKA

Six-member gang held on extortion charge

In police net: The arrested members of the gang being produced at a press conference on Saturday.

In police net: The arrested members of the gang being produced at a press conference on Saturday.  

Staff Reporter

It used to target software engineers and businessmen

Bangalore: A six-member gang led by three software engineers, allegedly involved in waylaying fellow techies and businessmen and extorting money from them, was arrested by a special investigation team of the city police.

The police seized a fake explosive device, Rs. 4 lakh in cash, six mobile phones, weapons and two cars from the gang.

The arrested are D.K. Kiran (26), a resident of Ganesh Block, R.T. Nagar; Muniram (32), a resident of New BDA Layout, Girinagar, and an engineering graduate in Electronics and Telecommunication; Pravin (25), a B.Sc. degree holder and resident of Mahalakshmipuram; Rajkumar (28), a resident of Shabarinagar; Sandesh (25), an engineering graduate in Computer Science and a resident of Kanaka Nagar in R.T. Nagar and Bharath Amla (40), an engineering graduate and owner of Network Consultant Metamorph, located in Rajarajeshwarinagar.

Fake bombs

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, City Police Commissioner N. Achutha Rao said that the gang, after identifying their victims, would waylay them by brandishing weapons. Part of its modus operandi was fooling their victims by tying an explosive-like device, resembling a timer-fixed bomb, on the waist of their victims and then demanding hefty sums to free them.

The victims, who were convinced they would be killed by the “remote-controlled bomb” would pay up. Investigation revealed that two software engineers, victims of such extortion, did not lodge any complaint as the gang had threatened to go after their families.

The gang’s luck ran out when on May 27, it stopped the car of Srinivas, a senior consultant with MindTree around 11 a.m. near Pattanagere Cross while he was on his way to work. The police said that the gang initially demanded Rs. 80 lakh. Later, Mr. Srinivas paid Rs. 1.15 lakh in cash and wrote a cheque for Rs. 30,000 before being released.

However, the gang continued to harass him for more money and threatened to kill him if he lodged a complaint. However, he filed a complaint with the Kengeri police on May 29.

The special investigation team that was constituted arrested the gang members on June 6 following a tip-off that they had assembled near 12th Cross, Ideal Homes Township in Rajarajeshwarinagar. The team comprised among others Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) P. Harishekharan; Assistant Commissioner of Police (Chickpet) Venkataswamy; Kalasipalya inspector S.K. Umesh; and Kengeri inspector K.C. Asundi.The police said that Kiran, who had worked in some software firms, had also collected lakhs of rupees from some job aspirants assuring them training in some software course. On March 8, the gang waylaid Gupta, whom Rajkumar (a member of the gang) knew, after inviting him near Sankey Tank for a business deal. Later, the gang forced Mr. Gupta to draw Rs. 2.5 lakh from Dena Bank’s Brigade Road branch. As usual, the gang threatened to kill him and his family if he approached the police.

In another incident, the gang on April 4 waylaid Benjamin Selvanathan from Sadashivnagar. The gang had demanded Rs. 10 lakh from him after tying the explosive-like device around his waist. Later, the gang released him on condition that he brought the money even as it warned him that the “waist bomb” would go off if he tried to remove it. However, Mr. Selvanathan removed it and lodged a complaint with the Sadashivnagar police.

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