Social worker held for extortion bid on Union Min Mahesh Sharma

Social worker held for extortion bid on Union Min Mahesh Sharma

Noida: A social worker was arrested on Friday by the Noida Police on charges of trying to extort Rs 2 crore from Union minister and BJP leader Mahesh Sharma, officials said.

Usha Thakur, in her 60s, was held from her house in Sector 31 at around 10 am, a police official said. Thakur is the granddaughter of the brother of legendary Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar'.

She has worked for a long time in Noida as a social worker and hogged the limelight for her work in getting justice for victims of the sensational Nithari serial murder case.

Thakur has been accused of extortion, forgery and criminal conspiracy linked to a pre-election "sting operation" done by a gang helmed by a man who ran a local news channel. The news channel was shut down after demonetisation, according to the police. The gang was demanding Rs 2 crore from Sharma after threatening to make public an "objectionable" video, the officials said, adding that three people directly linked to the case were already arrested in April.

"Usha Thakur was arrested from her house. She has been arrested following detailed interrogation of other accused involved in this case," SHO of the Sector 20 police station Rajvir Singh Chauhan said.

"Thakur had facilitated the meeting between the people who conducted the so-called sting operation and the Union minister. She has been arrested based on evidence of her role in the whole conspiracy," he said.

About the footage, Noida Police Chief Vaibhav Krishna had said in April that when investigated it was found that the blackmailer's claim of "it being objectionable was unfounded and was only to create pressure". "It was a normal video where the minister was purportedly heard talking to some people," Krishna, the senior superintendent of police, had said.



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