The Mumbai Police informed a special court Friday that “designer” Aniksha Jaisinghani blackmailed and demanded Rs 10 crore from Amruta Fadnavis, wife of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, following which an extortion related charge had been added to the case.
The IPC provision invoked is Section 385 – putting or attempting to put in a person the fear of injury in order to commit extortion.
While the FIR was registered against Aniksha and her father Anil Jaisinghani on February 20, alleging a bribe offer of Rs 1 crore to Amruta, police officers said an extortion attempt was made a couple of days after the FIR.
Aniksha was arrested Thursday, a day after The Indian Express first reported on the February 20 FIR.
She was produced in a special court in Mumbai which granted her custody to the police until March 21 on the ground that her custodial interrogation was necessary for further investigation.
While seeking her custody, police said the 25-year-old wanted to “deliberately fix the public servant”, the husband of complainant Amruta, and hence charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act had been invoked in the case.
Police said video clips and photographs sent by Aniksha were collected and a proposal was forwarded to the forensic science laboratory.
“The photos and a report from the FSL categorically show how and in what manner the conspiracy was planned to fix the informant and ultimately the public servant,” Chief Public Prosecutor Jaysing Desai told the court. He said the police want to investigate whether there was any political connection to the conspiracy.
He said that after making an attempt to bribe Amruta by offering her Rs 1 crore to clear her father’s name from pending criminal cases, Aniksha later sent videos to Amruta.
“The videos were sent with an intention to further blackmail the complainant. The charge under Section 385 of the Indian Penal Code has been invoked as the accused asked for Rs 10 crore stating that if the money was not given, they would circulate the video clips. The FSL report shows that the videos have been manipulated,” Desai told the court, adding that a deliberate attempt was made to frame Amruta.
Police said Aniksha sent videos to Amruta, and videos and audio clips to one of Amruta’s employees through WhatsApp messages to threaten her.
Citing messages allegedly sent by Aniksha to Amruta stating that her father was angry since Amruta had blocked her and was not responding, Desai said it showed that Aniksha was in “constant touch” with her father, an absconding accused in multiple cases for the last eight years.
Police claimed that Aniksha was aware of her father’s whereabouts and her custody was needed to question her.
A police officer said, “In one video, it can be seen that Aniksha is filling money in a bag and simultaneously counting them. In the second video, it can be seen that there is some movement with that bag at Sagar Bungalow and an employee working there can also be seen in the video. And on these pretences, she was threatening her.”
“Both the videos were sent for forensic analysis and it was scrutinised frame by frame after which investigators came to know that in the first video, the bag was heavily stuffed while in the second video, which is of Sagar Bungalow, the bag wasn’t,” the officer said.
“Owing to which, we have derived that the bag full of cash never went to Sagar Bungalow and it was done with the intention to threaten Amruta,” the officer said.
Defence lawyer Milan Hebbale, representing Aniksha, said he will not object to the police plea seeking her custody as it is the first remand hearing, but raised the question of the timing of the arrest.
“No notice was given before arresting her as required by law. The FIR was registered on a prior date. If there was an apprehension, they could have arrested me earlier. Why arrest me now? Am I in custody only because there are cases against my father? I am a law student, exams are going on. I am a woman, minimum police custody be granted,” he said.
A police officer said that in one meeting, Aniksha said her father had close relations with leaders of various political parties and handed over a lakhota (paper envelope) to (one of the staffers) with the instruction that it be given to Amruta.
Police sources said they have now learnt that Aniksha had written code names of 5-6 bookies on a piece of paper. “This was the first time that she had approached her with the idea of earning money through bookies which Amruta failed to understand,” an investigator said.