Investigation into the alleged extortion threat made to senior advocate and actor Salman Khan’s lawyer Dipesh Mehta have revealed startling details about how the advocate has been targeted by the underworld.
Inside details accessed by dna reveal that as many as 14 calls were made to Mehta’s mobile after the threat letter was delivered to his office on Monday afternoon.
According to sources, all the calls were made from a mobile number +918871389048. Mehta is currently out of the country. The police are trying to track the caller on the basis of the call data records. However, what shocks them is that the extortionist had the gumption to make the calls even after the police entered the picture.
On Monday afternoon, an unidentified person believed to be in his early thirties visited Mehta’s office on the ground floor of Dhoop Chhaon building in Bandra (W), handed over a bouquet, a letter in an envelope and a live bullet, and left. The letter, which was addressed to Mehta, threatened him with dire consequences if he did not shell out Rs 2 crore. According to the police, the bouquet also had a piece of paper which read, ‘To Dipesh Mehta, very very happy merry XRASMAS (sic) — from Azad.’
After the man left, Mehta’s staff opened the envelope and found the letter and the live cartridge, the police said. The contents of the letter read, “Dipesh Mehta 2 crore chahiye, nahin diya toh jaan se maar doonga,” (Dipesh Mehta I need 2 crore (rupees) and if you don’t hand it over, I shall kill you).
After this, the staff immediately informed the police.
“The unidentified man called Mehta nine times on Monday and five times on Tuesday. All the calls were made after the complaint was lodged. He speaks only Hindi and each time, he speaks only for two minutes. He does not abuse, but continuously threatens (Mehta) with dire consequences if the extortion money is not paid,” said a police officer on condition of anonymity. The modus operandi is similar to what was used by absconding gangster Ravi Pujari. A few years ago, he had sent a bouquet with a threat letter to a top builder living in Bandra. Pujari’s gang had in 2005 opened fire at leading advocate Majid Memon’s car, also at Bandra.
During the first call, the caller threatened Mehta and said he was aware where Mehta and his parents stay. “I even know your driver... his name is Rajesh,” the caller told Mehta, the police said.
The caller further said that he is also aware that Mehta owns a Mercedes Benz car and that Salman Khan and his father visit him regularly. “A lot of politicians are your clients and I have been keeping a tab on your office since the past one year,” the caller reportedly told Mehta.
According to eyewitnesses in Mehta’s office, the man who delivered the bouquet was around 5 feet and 6 inches tall, and was wearing a light blue shirt and a cap. “He was aware that the office has CCTV cameras, hence he ensured that he wore a cap while entering the office so that his face is not captured on the cameras,” the police officer said.