Jharkhand lawyer held with Rs 50 lakh extortion money sent to 6-day remand

A Jharkhand-based lawyer, who was arrested by Kolkata Police a day before with Rs 50 lakh cash that he allegedly took from a businessman for withdrawing a public interest litigation (PIL), was sent to six-day police custody by a Bankshall court on Monday.

The accused, Rajiv Kumar, had filed a PIL in the Jharkhand High Court against the Kolkata-based businessman and was demanding Rs 10 crore to withdraw it, the police said. “He files PILs against businessman and industrialists and then threatens them asking for money. He is believed to have filed as many as 600 PILs in the past,” said a senior police official.

Kumar had also filed PILs against Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren over suspected mining violations, sources said.

Kumar was arrested from the basement of a mall near Park Circus in the city on the basis of a complaint filed against him at the Hare Street police station, officials claimed.

According to sources, he first agreed on getting Rs 4 crore but then came down to Rs 1 crore. It was during the payment of the first installment of the money that the lawyer was arrested as the police reached the spot on the basis of a tip-off.

The police have also found an audio where Kumar is purportedly heard negotiating the price of withdrawing the PIL, it is learnt.

He told the businessman that he had links with central agencies and may get his house and office raided if he did not pay the money, the police said. The accused introduced himself as a Jharkhand High Court lawyer, saying he needed the money to manage people in the court,
they added.

“The defence appealed for bail as we sought his police custody that was granted for six days,” said Dipankar Kundu, the plaintiff lawyer.

Kumar’s lawyer Somnath Gangopadhyay said, “We were not given any arrest memo or documents. Also, the businessman in question is a resident of Saltlake. The plaintiff lawyer couldn’t produce any documents as how he went to the Hare Street police station to lodge a complaint.”

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Complaints have been filed against him in various Jharkhand police stations for allegedly blackmailing people and duping people of lakhs of rupees.

Members associated with Advocates Association of the Jharkhand High Court, meanwhile, abstained from work on Monday in protest against the arrest.

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