Four held for extortion attempt

The Mumbai Police Crime Branch on Thursday arrested four notorious history-sheeters who allegedly attempted to extort Rs 10 lakh from a tenant after he was given Rs 15 lakh by his landlord as part of an out-of-court settlement.

The arrested accused have been identified as Deepak Walekar alias Pandav Putra, Ramesh Junghare, Ganesh Suryavanshi alias Gonya, and Kiran Wagle alias Kiran Bhajiwala. They were arrested by Unit 2 of the Crime Branch and have been remanded to police custody till November 21.

"Deepak Walekar is a former Arun Gawli gang member who has been running his own gang, known as 'the Pandav Putra gang', for some time. He was arrested for the first time in 1993 and has 17 serious offences previously registered against him at Kherwadi, Girgaum and DB Marg police stations among others. He was given the name Pandav Putra owing to his diminutive size and the manner in which he once attempted to evade arrest by dressing up in a school boy's uniform and carrying a school-bag," said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria.

According to the police, the complainant in the case is a tenant who took a godown on hire in 2002. In 2006, he got into a dispute with the owner of the godown and the matter was taken to court. In August this year, both parties reached an out-of-court settlement by way of which the complainant received Rs 15 lakh to clear out.

"The accused got wind of this and when the complainant was in court for some work Junghare and Gonya cornered him in a corridor and demanded that he pay them Rs 10 lakh. When he refused, they threatened him with dire consequences," said Maria.

Junghare has six previous cases registered against him, while Gonya has four offences against his name. Except for Wagle, who has one prior offence against his name, all the arrested accused have cases registered against them under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

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