Traders in Kolkata under threat from abroad

The money, purported to be raised, is to meet the legal expenses of the underworld don Aftab Ansari who has been sentenced to death for leading an attack on the American Centre here, sources in the city police said on Monday.

“The callers have demanded hefty ransom to meet (the) legal costs of Aftab Ansari and threatened that if the demand is not fulfiled, then they would be abducted,” a senior police officer said on condition of anonymity.

The techie who had gone missing on Saturday from the Salt Lake’s IT hub, but resurfaced on Sunday, declined to reveal much as his family received ransom calls to the tune of Rs 20 lakh.

While cops have been probing his disappearance and subsequent return besides tracing the ransom calls, two shoe barons and a hotelier are believed to have been receiving threat calls for a huge ransom demand from Karachi in Pakistan and Dubai in UAE since Friday last.
Asked whether the calls were made by the Indian Mujahideen, a terrorist outfit headed by Amir Reja Khan who is also an accused in the American Centre attack, the officer said, “This cannot be independently verified right now. We’re trying to trace the calls.” Reja Khan fled from India via Bangladesh after the attack.

“The issue is very sensitive and it’s difficult to reveal the details now for the sake of investigation,” the officer disclosed. The Special Task Force (STF), Kolkata, is understood to be investigating the matter.Aftab Ansari has been sentenced to death for planning the American Centre attack on January 22, 2002. Ansari was also awarded a life sentence in the case of abduction of shoe baron Partho Roy Burman in 2001. The daring raid left five policemen dead and 12 injured.

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