A racket run from inside Tihar on WhatsApp and Messenger

new delhi: Gone are the days when police and public take a sigh of relief when criminals land in jail. Now, criminals are not just operating e-extortion rackets from inside prison cells but also giving online tutorials to fellow gangsters on how to extort money — and all this in the national Capital.

Delhi Police have now come across one such case where a local businessman was asked for a ransom of Rs 1 crore. The extortionist had allegedly threatened his and his family's security if he did not pay up.

On June 9, a Delhi based businessman received a random WhatsApp call. The caller identified himself as Satinder. He told the businessman that he is an inmate of Tihar Jail and demanded a ransom of Rs 1 crore. Satinder is a close aide of Delhi's infamous gangster Manjeet Mahal and runs his operation from the prison.

The businessman then contacted the Delhi Police and lodged a formal complaint. During the course of the investigation, it was revealed that an alleged mobile number used for making the extortion call was found to be snatched on May 24 from one Rakesh, a resident of Dichaun Kalan, Delhi.

Accused Praveen Kumar disclosed that after committing snatching of mobile phones he removed their SIM cards and further supplied them to Satinder's gang members who further use these SIM cards to register on WhatsApp on a new mobile handset and then use them for making ransom calls.

The twist in the story came when it was learnt that Satinder did not make the call himself but instead he sent an audio clip to his associate via WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. The audio clip had details of the businessman and the money that was to be extorted.

"It's a matter of investigation that how did Satinder manage to get access to a phone inside the Tihar Jail premises which is highly secure," said a senior police officer. "The man also tutored his younger recruits on how to make ransom calls via an audio recording," the officer said.

A probe revealed the intricate method that was used to make the extortion call. Praveen and Rajeev arranged a phone and a stolen SIM which was given to Akash who made the ransom call. Their questioning revealed that Jai Dixit was the main conduit for jailed gangsters. He was in direct touch with Manjeet Mahal and Satinder through Facebook messenger and Whatsapp. Delhi Police has arrested seven gang members, all of whom are under 30 years of age.

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