City SP Anup Birthre (right) with the nabbed extortionist at a news meet in Ranchi on Saturday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, March 29: A Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) employee was arrested on extortion charges from the outskirts of Ranchi with police probing his alleged links with various rebel outfits.
Around Rs 80,000 cash, four mobile phones and six SIM cards were recovered from his possession.
Arun Kumar (32), a category-I employee with the geology department who was posted at CCL’s Darbhanga House in Ranchi, was picked up from his rented apartment at Riverside Colony in Pandra police station area last night.
Kumar’s house was raided after Shashi Bhusan Singh, an official of Namkum block, approached Jagannathpur police around a week ago, alleging that he had received extortion calls from one Arun Ram. In his complaint to police, Shashi claimed that he had earlier paid Rs 55,000 to someone on the instruction of Ram.
On the basis of the information, police tracked down the mobile number that was used for making the extortion calls, which ultimately led to the arrest.
Briefing the media about the breakthrough this afternoon, Ranchi superintendent of police (city) Anup Birthare said Kumar got a compensatory appointment in the PSU after the death of his father, who was a CCL employee.
Sources said his mother was also a CCL employee and currently posted at Dakra Hospital in Ramgarh.
Police are trying to find out how the CCL authorities gave a compensatory job to Kumar when one of the family members was working with the PSU. Also, how could they appoint a person with a criminal background.
Elaborating on his modus operandi, the SP said Kumar used to pose as dreaded rebel leaders, like Maoist zonal commander Kundan Pahan or senior Naxalite leader Nakul Yadav or PLFI chief Dinesh Gope, to extort money from businessmen and government officials working in different parts of the district.
A senior police officer said he had been collecting Rs 12,000 from a local coal trader, Dinesh Singh, per month for the last two years.
“Most of the times, the victims were so terrorised that they did not approach police,” said Birthare, adding that police were now collecting his call details to ascertain whether he actually had any link with extremists.
Sources said though his CCL identity card suggested his name was Arun Kumar, he often introduced himself as Arun Ram to mislead his prey.
Preliminary investigations revealed that an FIR was lodged against Ram at Lower Bazar police station in Ranchi in 2006 after he had attempted to extort money from the owner of Kashmir Vastralaya.
This apart, his name also surfaced in a kidnapping case registered at Peeparwar police station in Hazaribagh in 2004.