The Special Task Force of the Haryana police arrested six people for allegedly giving death threats and extortion calls to MLAs, an officer said on Sunday.
Four MLAs from the state received such calls from June 24 to 28 from multiple phone numbers which were traced to West Asian countries and operated from Pakistan, STF inspector general of police Satheesh Balan told the media at the unit's headquarters in Bondsi in Gurugram.
Some ex-MLAs from Punjab, too, had received similar threats from these numbers. The callers spoke to them in Mumbai accent and in Punjabi, the IGP said.
Two members of the gang Dulesh Alam, a native of Bihar, and Badre Alam, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, were arrested from Mumbai.
The other four -- Amit Yadav, Saddiq Anwar, Sanoj Kumar, Kash Alam -- all natives of Bihar, were arrested from the state's Muzaffarpur, he said.
Fifty-five ATM cards, 24 mobile phones, 56 SIM cards, 22 passbooks and cheque books, Rs 3.97 lakh, an SUV, three diaries and a register were recovered from them, the IGP said.
FIRs were lodged against unknown people for issuing death threats to the MLAs after which Haryana Director General of Police P K Agrawal assigned the case to the STF.
IGP Balan said as part of the STF's strategy to nab the accused, the force disguised itself and deliberately came in the gang's radar, after which its personnel too began receiving similar threat calls.
In the garb of paying up the money demanded by the callers, the police teams noted down their particulars, such as bank accounts details, following which raids were held across Mumbai and Muzaffarpur simultaneously, Balan said.
During investigation, the STF also learnt about 10 Pakistani residents through whom the threats and extortion calls were routed, he added.
The IGP said the accused often offered Rs 15-20,000 to poor people and lured them into opening bank accounts to carry out the gang's transactions.
"These accused do not belong to any criminal gang or terrorist organisation. This is a gang of very sharp criminals who are involved in professional fraud, money laundering and have their members across Pakistan, Middle East (West Asia) and India," he said.
"People sitting in these other countries would entice victims in the guise of an entry into 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' or saying they have won lotteries or by extortion calls and would make them transfer the money to the account numbers given by Dulesh or Amit," he added.
The duo would then either withdraw the money through ATMs or transfer the amount to the Indian accounts of their Pakistan-based gang members, Balan said.
The STF was headed by superintendent of police Sumit Kuhar and led by DSPs Sandeep Dhankhar and Surendra Kinha.