LUCKNOW: After Dr Anita Singh Rajput, the BJP MLA from Dibai, 19 more BJP MLAs of Uttar Pradesh have received similar extortion messages and calls through Whatsapp wherein the sender has demanded Rs 10 lakh from each of them within three days failing which he has threatened to kill their family members one by one. Dr Anita Rajput had been receiving such threatening messages since May 19. Meanwhile, the state police authorities have reached out to central intelligence agencies besides setting up a three-member special investigation team (SIT) to probe into the threats and identify the sender here on Wednesday.
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As per the police sources, the threats were being issued in the name of a gangster – Ali Budesh Bhai -- who had once been a close associate of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Taking a strong note of the matter, CM Yogi Adityanath, who convened a high-level emergency meeting of police brass and home department officials, directed the authorities to get a thorough probe conducted into the matter by putting UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), Special Task Force (STF) and cyber crime cell officials of police headquarters into action to solve the mystery and identity of the sender at the earliest.
According to ADG (law and Order) Anand Kumar, besides the BJP MLAs, a Bhopal journalist and some other persons in different parts of the country, especially Rajasthan and Delhi, have also received similar extortion messages. While a special investigative team, headed by Inspector General, STF, Amitabh Yash was constituted. The team also comprised of SSP STF and Additional SP ATS, said ADG Anand Kumar.
Though the cyber experts call it a difficult exercise to trace the sender, ADG (L&O) claimed that the number used to send the messages was traced to be a landline registered on a server in Texas, US with a Whatsapp facility. “We have also identified the IP address and the gateway used to send the messages to the MLAs. Prima facie, it seems to be a conspiracy hatched to create a panic,” claimed the ADG. Some of the MLAs who have received the threatening messages include Veer Vikram Singh (Meeranpur Katra in Shahjahanpur), Prem Prakash Pandey (Tarabganj in Gonda), Vinay Kumar Dwivedi (Mehnam in Gonda), Shahshank Trivedi (Mahauli in Sitapur), Manvendra Singh (Dadraul in Shahjahanpur), Vinod Katiyar (Bhognipur in Kanpur), etc.
Sharing the details of the alleged sender, ADG Anand Kumar said the messages were being sent in the name of a gangster– Ali Budesh from Dubai – whose identity was traced as the one who was born in Mumbai. In was sent to Dubai to meet underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. He joined Dawood and truned out to be his close aide but fallen apart with him in due course.
The ADG added that Ali Budesh used to send such threats to some film personalities way back in 1990s. After parting ways with Dawood, the gangster established his own gang in Bahrain in 1998. Now the fugitive with the name mentioned above is believably settled in Pakistan. “However, for the last 10 years, there was no report of his activities but he had been on the scanner of intelligence agencies,” said ADG Kumar.
Meanwhile, the affected MLAs met the deputy CM Dr Dinesh Sharma over the issue. And a number of them expressed confidence that they were not scared by such threats as they believed that the state government was very much capable of handling the issue.