Delhi Police has arrested two men for allegedly ‘spoofing’ the residential and office landline numbers of Home Minister Amit Shah from an app and demanding Rs 3 crore for ‘party funds’ after allegedly making calls to Haryana power minyister Ranjit Singh Chautala, estranged brother of former Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala.
Police said the arrested men have been identified as Upkaar Singh (47) and Jagtaar Singh (42). A senior police officer told The Indian Express: ‘The arrests were made following a complaint from the Home Minister’s OSD Satish Kumar in the first week of December.’
According to police, the incident came to light when minister Ranjit Singh Chautala received a call through an app, Crazy Call, which is banned in India.
‘The minister received a number of calls from a person posing as a senior party official. He allegedly demanded Rs 3 crore for ‘party funds’. He claimed that he was calling from Shah’s residence on Krishna Menon Marg, but the minister got suspicious on receiving repeated calls. He then approached Shah’s OSD for enquiry, but was informed that no such calls were made from their office. Home Minister Shah’s OSD then approached Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik,’ an officer said.
An FIR was registered in the case and DCP (New Delhi Range of the special cell) Pramod Singh Kushwah was asked to investigate.
‘With the help of technical surveillance, the team first found that the calls were made from an app which is banned in India. It can, however, be downloaded from Opera web browser. On Thursday, police asked the accused callers to come near Haryana Bhawan to collect the amount. Jagtaar Singh was arrested from the spot. Police then conducted a raid in Chandigarh to nab Upkaar Singh. He was arrested on Friday evening,’ the officer added.
During questioning, Jagtaar, who hails from Haryana’s Sirsa, told police that he has business of leather jackets, while Upkaar Singh hails from Chandigarh and runs a taxi stand.
‘Around three months ago, both the accused met for the first time at the office of a common friend for a land deal. Borrowing ideas from crime-related TV shows, they decided to dupe a minister. Upkaar, who is PhD degree holder, began learning about call spoofing. In the meantime, Jagtaar managed to get the phone numbers of minister Ranjit Singh, and Upkaar made calls to him,’ police said.
Meanwhile, Ranjit Singh has denied that he received any such call. ‘Nobody demanded money from me. I have not come across any official from the ministry. I am a cabinet minister and no such thing has happened with me. I wasn’t approached for any funds,’ he told reporters.
With the help of technical surveillance, a team led by Inspectors Umesh Barthwal and Neeraj Kumar made the arrests, said a police officer.
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