The Mumbai police have arrested four persons for allegedly trying to cheat a BJP MLA from Maharashtra's Pune district by offering a cabinet berth to him in the newly-formed government in the state in exchange of Rs 90 crore, an official said on Wednesday.
The Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Mumbai crime branch made the arrests based on the complaint lodged by the legislator, Rahul Kul, who represents the Daund Assembly constituency, he said.
The arrested accused were identified as Riyaaz Sheikh (41), Yogesh Kulkarni (57), Sagar Sangwai (37) and Jaffar Ahmed Rashid Ahmed Usmani (53), the crime branch official said.
"Sheikh had contacted the MLA last week, but he did not respond to his call. The accused then reached out to his personal assistant (PA) saying that he had come to Mumbai from Delhi to meet the MLA. On his request, they arranged a meeting between Sheikh and Kul at Nariman Point. There, Sheikh offered a ministerial berth in the government to Kul, but demanded Rs 100 crore in exchange," he said.
The legislator pretended that he was ready for the deal and the amount of Rs 90 crore was later finalised, he added.
"Sheikh demanded 20 per cent of the amount, Rs 18 crore, in advance. Accordingly, Kul called Sheikh at a prominent hotel to collect the amount and also alerted the top Mumbai police officials. When Sheikh came to the hotel on Monday afternoon to collect the advance amount, he was nabbed. Kul, his PA and another BJP MLA Jaykumar Gore were also present there," the official said.
During his interrogation, Sheikh named three other accused, who were then nabbed from Nagpada in south Mumbai and from neighbouring Thane early on Tuesday.
Kulkarni and Sangwai were arrested from Thane, they also named Usmani from Nagpada, the official said.
The accused were arrested under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including cheating, and further investigation is underway, he said.
(With PTI inputs)