An extortion racket that involved blackmailing politicians and government officials with videos was busted by Madhya Pradesh police officials in Bhopal on Wednesday night. Five women, including the wife of a former Congress information-technology cell official, and a man have been arrested in connection with the case.
The women have been identified as Shweta Jain, 39, her namesake 48-year-old Shweta Jain, 35-year-old Barkha Soni, 34-year-old Arti Dayal and an 18-year-old college student. Omprakash Kori, 34, who drives Arti Dayal's car has also been arrested.
Sources close to the investigation told NDTV that the racket, described as a 'honey-trap', targeted only wealthy individuals and focused on politicians and bureaucrats.
The racket was allegedly operated by Shweta Jain, who runs a local NGO and lives in BJP MLA Brijendra Pratap Singh's house on rent.
One of the gang's recent victims was a top IAS official from whom she was allegedly trying to extort Rs 2 crore.
The racket was busted after an Indore Municipal Corporation officer filed a complain against Arti Dayal, officials said. They were allegedly making extortion demand of Rs 3 crore from him.
When Dayal, along with the student, came to Indore to allegedly receive Rs 50 lakh as the first installment of the extortion sum, she was arrested, the police said. Others were arrested following their interrogation.
One of the women is identified as Barkha Soni, wife of former Congress IT cell official, Amit Soni.
Police have seized laptops, mobile phones, documents and video evidence from the house of the gang leader.
"All the accused were produced before a court in Indore on Thursday and are now in police custody," a top police official said.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bala Bachchan has said the government will ensure that the guilty are brought to justice.