Kolkata: A businessman from Shakespeare Sarani in south Kolkata has alleged that he has been receiving ransom calls from five different numbers since the last month. The businessman – with varied business interests in the state and even outside – has been asked to pay Rs 2 crore as ransom or face the consequences.
Till Thursday evening, the detective department that is probing the case is certain the calls have originated from a Bihar based gang operating outside the state. “We are trying to develop certain leads in this case,” said joint CP (crime and STF) Vishal Garg.
Two other businessmen from Kolkata — New Alipore and Salt Lake — have made police complaints earlier against a Siwan-based gang that has been making ransom calls of Rs 2 crore each. The businessman had initially been ignoring calls that first began to take serious turn on December 31. But certain inputs from the ransom callers made the victim realize that he might have been followed.
In the past two years, 31 cases of kidnapping for ransom have been recorded in the city even though most known gangsters are now either in jail or are inactive. Most of these calls have been made from Bihar or petty local criminals.
Just a couple of months ago, the New Alipore police has identified the role of one dreaded extortionist Srikanta Yadav in calling up a New Alipore-based businessman and demanding a hefty amount – around Rs 10 lakh – from him.
The cops said that it was Srikanta – who is serving a term in jail for a murder – who had earlier planned and executed the kidnapping of a businessman from south 24 Parganas. Two cellphones – one belonging to him and another his cell inmate Pawan Tiwari – were recovered from their jail cell only a few weeks ago. “It is strange that despite checks and installing jammers in jails, such calls are continuing unabated. We are taking him in police remand to ascertain why he made such a call,” said a senior investigating officer.
In the other incident, the police have arrested one Shankar Bharadwaj (48) for allegedly threatening an alcohol bottling plant owner and warning him that he would kidnap his children if he did not pay up Rs 50 lakh. The police said that Shankar was employed with the businessman for the past 20 years. He was earning Rs 6500 per month and was asking for a hike that he felt was not being honoured.