5 held for running extortion racket from inside Mandoli jail

New Delhi: The police have busted an extortion racket allegedly being run from the Mandoli jail in northeast Delhi and arrested five men, including the head warden of the prison, officials said on Thursday.

The accused have been identified as Vikas (28), Pramod Kumar (30), Honey Rajpal (35) and Jagmohan (23). The head warden of Mandoli jail Rajender Singh (50) has also been arrested, they said.

Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel said strict action will be taken against any jail staff found involved in such activities.

The police said Vikas, an active member of the Nandu Gang, is the mastermind behind the extortion racket and allegedly operated from inside the jail where is currently lodged.

Among the other gang members — Kumar, who was under judicial custody, had recently come out on interim bail while Rajpal is lodged in the jail for murder.

According to the police, each of the five members of the racket had been assigned a specific task.

Kumar’s job was to arrange SIM cards for Singh.

Singh, being a jail employee, was tasked to collect and deliver the SIM cards to Rajpal inside the jail by avoiding checking.

While Rajpal arranged mobile phones, Vikas was the one who would make WhatsApp calls and send messages to the gang’s targets, police said.

A probe was initiated by the police after they received a complaint on August 22 at Dwarka South police station from a Dabri resident who alleged that he had been receiving threats through WhatsApp calls and messages from two mobile numbers.

Details and current location of the two alleged contact numbers were traced during an investigation and as per record, the numbers were found registered in the name of Jagmohan and Pramod Kumar, both residents of New Usmanpur, said Anto Alphonse, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Dwarka).

One of the numbers was found activated on August 6, while the other was found to be activated on July 27. The current location of both mobile numbers was traced to Budh Vihar, Mandoli, he said.

Following raids, police nabbed Jagmohan, who told them during interrogation that he got four SIM cards issued in the name of his cousin — Kumar — on August 6, the DCP said.

Subsequently, Kumar who was out on interim bail in a murder case was also apprehended, he said.

“During interrogation, Kumar disclosed that while in jail, he met Rajpal. When he came out on interim bail, Rajpal called him to arrange and deliver 10 SIM cards inside the jail through the head warden. Rajpal told him that he would receive Rs 2,000 per SIM.

“So Kumar got four SIM cards issued in his name and six SIM in his brother Jagmohan name and handed them over to Mandoli jail’s head warden,” the officer said.

After examining SIM card dealers and their records, head warden Rajender Singh was also arrested. On the basis of his disclosure and WhatsApp chats, police later arrested Rajpal and Vikas, he said.

The police have recovered three mobile phones of the accused and also accessed WhatsApp chats between Honey Rajpal, Kumar and Singh, he added.