The main brain behind the extortion threats to actor Salman Khan’s lawyer Dipesh Mehta is suspected to bea son of Mehta’s house help. The name of Ramchandra Chhatri, 30,cropped up during the questioning of another accused Aryan Shaikh,who was arrested earlier this month, said police sources.
The police said Chhatri, who has a criminal past, had met Shaikh in Arthur Road jail where both were once lodged. He roped in Shaikh to hatch the plan after they were released.
Ramchandra Dhavale of the Bandra police station confirmed the development. He said, “We have questioned Mehta’s maid, who has been working at his place for more than twodecades. Her husband used to work as a security guard in the building where Mehta has his office,” said Dhavale.
“A team has been specially working in this case and keeping a tab on the suspect. We will nab him soon,”said another officer.
Nearly 10 days ago, officials from unit IX of the crime branch had arrested Shaikh, 27, along with one Anthony William Dias, near Mehboob studio in Bandra after Shaikh called up Mehta to inform him that he had come to collect the money.
“Shaikh had made at least 30 calls to Mehta as directed by Chhatri and demanded Rs 2 crore from the lawyer,” said an officer. Later, the cops learnt that Dias was not involved in the plan and Shaikh had brought him along without telling him anything. He was allowed to go.
Chhatri had met Shaikh, a chain-snatcher, in jail. Chhatri, who was released first, had asked to Shaikh to get in touch him when the latter walked out of prison. Shaikh was released on December 4 after which he contacted Chhatri.
Chhatri gave Shaikh a mobile phone, a bouquet, a live bullet and a letter. He then asked Shaikh to deliver the letter, flowers and the bullet at Mehta’s office. Shaikh was also told to extract Rs2 crore from Mehta. “It seems the main suspect wanted to earn easy money so he made plan to extort from Mehta” said an officer.