Saturday, December 9, 2023

Extortion racket linked to Lawrence Bishnoi gang busted; three held

Punjab Police on Wednesday said it has busted an extortion racket backed by gangster Lawrence Bishnoi with the arrest of its three operatives who used to run an online gambling platform to lure the victims.
Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Gaurav Yadav said the state special operation cell in Mohali initiated a coordinated action into the case, leading to the arrest of Rohit Bharadwaj of Zirakpur, and Mohit Bharadwaj and Arjun Thakur, both residents of Chandigarh.
The accused used to convince the victims into joining the online gambling platform ‘Diamond Exchange’ by promising them high profits in exchange of a nominal betting fee, the state police chief said.
“Initially, the victims would win some rewards, but would then start losing money. The accused would then offer them lakhs of rupees on credit so that they can continue betting on the platform,” he said.
Once the victims availed the credit, the accused used to charge hefty interest which could sometimes run into crores. When the victims showed unwillingness to return the amount, the accused would make threatening calls to them through their gangster associates sitting in jail and abroad, the DGP said in a statement.
During the investigation, police verified various payment gateways and the bank accounts to which the money was transferred, he said, adding that proceedings to freeze the bank accounts have been initiated.
Investigations are on to identify the owner of the fraudulent website, DGP Yadav said.
Assistant Inspector General Ashwani Kapur said the arrested accused were operating from a rented flat in SAS Nagar. It is believed that the accused played instrumental roles in executing the extortion activities at the behest of the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, he said.
According to the police, Rs 14.78 lakh was seized from Rohit Bhardwaj. Mobile phones and incriminating evidence were also seized from the accused, they said.



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