The ultimate aim of the conspiracy was to "fix" Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the police told a court in Mumbai on Friday while seeking custody of designer Anishka Jaisinghani, accused of offering bribe to Fadnavis's wife Amruta.
Jaisinghani was produced before additional sessions judge D D Almale who remanded her in police custody till March 21.
The accused tried to extort Rs 10 crore from Amruta by ”threatening to circulate morphed videos”, and hence they invoked Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 385 (putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion) against Anishka Jaisinghani and her father Anil Jaisinghani, the police said.
Anishka was arrested on Thursday while her father, also an accused in the case, is still at large.
The Malabar Hill police station had registered a First Information Report (FIR) in the case on February 20 on Amruta Fadnavis's complaint.
The FIR was registered under IPC section 120-B (conspiracy) and sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act pertaining to using illegal means to induce a public servant to show favour or disfavour to any person.
Chief Public Prosecutor Jaysing Desai told the court that photos, videos and other material evidence shows there was a conspiracy to fix "the informant (complainant Amruta Fadnavis) and ultimately the public servant" (Devendra Fadnavis).
The accused wanted to "use of the office of public servant", he added.
Morphed photos and three or four videos were created to blackmail, the prosecution said.
After Amruta blocked her number, Anishka demanded Rs 10 crore to delete everything she had and threatened to circulate those videos if Amruta did not pay, the prosecution claimed.
The phone from which these messages were sent was yet to be recovered, it added.
Anishka was in constant touch with her father who is facing 17 criminal cases, the police said while seeking Anishka's custody for seven days.
Advocate Milan Hebale, appearing for Anishka, contended that of 17 cases against Anil Jaisinghani, 13 have been "settled" (closed).
The lawyer also questioned why, if the FIR was registered on February 20, the arrest was made only now.
Anishka was a law student and her exams were going on, he said, praying for a short police custody.
The court, after hearing both the sides, remanded Anishka in police custody till March 21.
As per Amruta Fadnavis's statement to the police, she first met Anishka in November 2021.
Anishka told her that she designed clothes, jewellery and footwear and requested the BJP leader's wife to wear them at public events to help her promote the products, she said.
After gaining Amruta's trust, Anishka offered to provide her information on some bookies through which, she claimed, they could make money. She then offered Amruta Rs 1 crore to get her father off the hook in a police case, as per the FIR.
When Amruta Fadnavis blocked her number as she was upset by such behaviour, Anishka allegedly sent her video clips, voice notes and many messages from an unknown number and threatened her, the FIR claimed.