The Charkop police have arrested a 45-year-old driver, who extorted Rs 52 lakh from a 48-year-old woman over the past four years, after convincing her that the police had found drugs and condoms in her car, and she would be implicated in a narcotics case. The woman and her family believed him and went bankrupt, as they sold her jewellery and took loans from relatives and close friends, even the watchman of their building, to meet his demands.
The driver, Sohail Khan, was arrested from Virar recently and remanded in police custody, said a police officer. The complainant, Panna Chetankumar Mistry, a resident of Charkop, who approached the police in December 2022, had a travel agency. She had rented a car she owned to a woman who later cheated her. However, the woman told Mistry where she had kept the car. Mistry took Khan along to get the car. This was in 2019.
Mistry told the police that as the car was in a very bad condition, she decided to abandon it. But Khan told her he knew a mechanic who could repair it for a reasonable price. He allegedly told her he would drive it and pay her from his earnings every month.
After handing him the car, the Mistrys shifted to Gurgaon. Mistry said she kept sending Khan money for the repairs. Once she said Khan called her and told her drugs and many packets of used and unused condoms were found in the trunk of the car. He threw them in a drain. But Khan later told her that he had gone to the RTO to get the car checked and the officers found more drugs and condoms in it.
Mistry said, “I wondered how the cops found the drugs when Khan said he had thrown them. Khan said that the officer had detected them by using some chemicals and he was preparing to register an FIR against her in Bandra police station. Khan told me that once the FIR was filed, the police will arrest me. He told me the Mumbai police are very dangerous, they rape women after they arrest them. I was scared but he said he would confess to the crime. But for that, I had to give in writing that I had given the car to him.”
“Later, Khan told me he had been arrested by Bandra police and on the pretext of bail, managing the judge and the police, he sought R15 lakh which I transferred to his bank accounts,” Mistry added.
Accomplices’ call victim
But the extortion did not stop. One of Khan's friends called Mistry and sought money for Khan’s treatment claiming the cops had beaten him up. Khan's wife also allegedly told her that he had developed cancer due to the police beating and demanded money.
Khan also told Mistry that he had filed a case against the police with Mantralaya for assaulting him. He told her he won it and the Mantralaya asked the police to pay him R32 lakh as compensation. Khan demanded R10 lakh from Mistry to bribe ministers and officials to get the compensation.
Police said Mistry sold her jewellery and her husband withdrew his provident fund to pay Khan. They then took a loan from a close relative and even the watchman of their building for more money to pay Khan.
‘Our lives are ruined’
“I was blaming myself that an innocent life was ruined because of me. But I didn't know that our lives were ruined. I gave my life's savings to Khan. We have nothing left. Our son was doing B.Tech. we could not pay for his fees,” Mistry said.
A case under various sections of IPC was registered at Charkop police station under the guidance of DCP Ajaykumar Bansal and Senior Inspector Jyoti Bhople Bagul; API Sudhir Chauhan and others began the investigation. “The mobile numbers of the accused were off, and untraceable, finally we got a clue about Khan and arrested him from Virar. His wife and other accused are at large,” said a police officer.