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Bizman makes killing in I-T scam, gets abducted by cops

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a constable from the crime branch of the Thane police and is on the lookout for aide.

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a constable from the crime branch of the Thane police and is on the lookout for another from the crime branch of the Mumbai police on charges of abducting for ransom.

The two constables allegedly abducting a businessman from Andheri last year and demanded a ransom of Rs50 lakh for his release. He was eventually released for a payment of Rs15 lakh. While constable Shailesh Patil was arrested last Monday, his accomplice, a constable from the Mumbai police, is absconding.

The startling case came to light when the anti-corruption cell of the CBI arrested Munaf Iqbal Kasmani, one of the beneficiaries of the illegal income-tax refund scandal that the agency unearthed last month. The CBI’s investigation revealed that a group of people led by a couple of income-tax officers ran a multi-crore racket in which they procured the PAN and bank account details of a group of people, filed fake I-T returns for them, and promised them a share of the fraudulently obtained refunds.

Pramod Prabhakar, Dilip Vyas, the mastermind of the scam, television artiste Manoj Sangtiyani, and tax assistants Rajesh Pillai and Raju Nagpure were arrested. Prabhakar and Vyas
allegedly earned as much as Rs6 crore through the racket.

While tracing the beneficiaries of the racket, the CBI found that Kasmani, who ran a business in dried fish, had fraudulently received Rs1.5 crore as part of the scam. He was arrested on March 5.

“While we were trying to find out where he spent all the money, he confessed to having been abducted by two policemen and paying them Rs15 lakh as ransom,” said a senior CBI officer on condition of anonymity.

Shocked by this revelation, the CBI began to track the policemen. It learnt that a police informer in the western suburbs had tipped off the constable who is currently absconding about Kasmani “amassing huge amounts of money”.

Sensing an opportunity to extort some money, the constables decided to abduct Kasmani. In October last year, as the businessman walked out of the Bank of India branch at Yari Road, the constables picked him up.

“Kasmani was held captive for two days in a lodge in Kalwa,” said the CBI officer. “The initial demand was for Rs50 lakh but it was finally settled for Rs15 lakh.”

Patil has been booked for abduction, extortion, and wrongful confinement under the Indian Penal Code. He is in CBI custody till March 22.

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