Mumbai: Gang, demanding Rs. 100 crore for minister post, busted
Mumbai Crime Branch has arrested four men, who allegedly demanded Rs. 100 crore from an MLA for a ministerial post in the newly-formed Maharashtra cabinet. The men had contacted BJP MLA Rahul Kul on July 12 and alleged that a senior politician can arrange a cabinet berth. They have been arrested under charges of cheating, cheating by impersonation, and common intention.
The men approached Kul's assistant, set up a meeting, and allegedly demanded Rs. 100 crore. "They told him that they had come from Delhi and set up a meeting at Nariman Point," the police said. As the Dhaund MLA bargained, they settled on Rs. 90 crore as the final amount, and the accused allegedly demanded 20% of the sum, Rs. 18 crore, in advance.
Kul informed the police about the developments, who nabbed the key accused, Riyaaz Sheikh (41), when he came to the Trident Hotel to collect the advance. He revealed the names of fellow accused, Yogesh Kulkarni (57), Sagar Sangwai (37), and Jaffar Ahmed Usmani (53), while in police custody. All four have been arrested and placed in custody after being produced in court.
While in custody, Kulkarni and Sangwai allegedly told the police that Usmani had claimed to know a contact in Delhi who deals in lobbying. "Usmani alleged that his contact can facilitate ministerial posts in return for money. He promised the fellow accused that extra money can be distributed among them," a Mumbai Police official told The Indian Express.
The attempt to extort Kul comes only days after a political storm in Maharashtra led to former CM Uddhav Thackeray's resignation and a split in the Shiv Sena. Eknath Shinde, a prominent figure in the party, lead the split and was later elected as the CM. BJP's Devendra Fadnavis, who called for a no-confidence vote against Thackeray, was elected as the Deputy CM.