"The gang repeatedly kept calling me and sending me messages."
Five people based in Mumbai were arrested on Thursday, February 21, 2019, for attempting to extort a sum of cash from a film producer.
They were identified as Hussain Makrani, aged 36, Yuvraj Chauhan, aged 30, Rehman Shaikh, aged 45, Mahi Mishra, aged 32, and Kewal Ramkumar, aged 60.
They allegedly tried to extort Rs. 25 Crore (£2.6 million) from the unnamed 40-year-old victim after the man’s father met a woman for a massage therapy session.
The elderly man, aged 68, was advised by his doctor to go regularly to manage his health problems. The woman charged him Rs. 5,000 (£52) for one session but was never seen by the man again.
On January 15, 2019, the man received a phone call from a man who identified himself as Rahul Shukla. He claimed to be from a channel called ‘Discovery of Crime’.
Sharma said he had an obscene video of the man and asked if he wanted to “settle it”. The producer’s father denied any existence of a video and put the phone down.
The film producer told police that they introduced themselves as journalists and claimed that they had an explicit video of his father with a woman.
The gang later demanded a ransom of Rs. 25 Crore (£2.6 million) by threatening to upload the footage onto social media.
Talking to the police, the complainant said: “The gang repeatedly kept calling me and sending me messages. It looks like a well-coordinated plan.”
The gang said that if it was uploaded, it would ruin his family’s reputation in society.
On January 23, 2019, a family friend contacted the producer and told him Hussain, Yuvraj and Rahul had spoken to a friend about the video.
The producer and the three men met on February 8, 2019, at a hotel. They continued to claim that they were part of the channel as they showed the video to the producer.
The producer’s father and a woman, identified as Mahi Mishra, are seen together. It then became more explicit.
According to the producer, the video looked like “it was morphed”.
A police official said: “The complainant was scared, and on February 15, he again went for a meeting with the accused, where they negotiated a ‘settlement’ amount of Rs. 5 Crore (£530,000).
“They said Rs. 4 Crore (£420,000) would be given to the woman for not filing a complaint against his father, and Rs. 1 Crore (£105,000) would be taken to not telecast the video.
“The producer negotiated with them and managed to bring the figure down to Rs. 25 Lakh (£26,000).”
He then went to the police and filed a complaint. They set a trap in Andheri, Mumbai and caught the suspects accepting the first instalment.
They were arrested and the matter is being investigated further.