A 28-year-old actor who was found dead on Thursday in her rented Mumbai apartment was allegedly being blackmailed by two men who posed as anti-drugs officers, the police have told NDTV. The two accused – Sooraj Pardeshi and Praveen Valimwe – have been taken into custody for allegedly abetting her suicide.
On December 20, the Bhojpuri actor went to a party at a five-star hotel with her friends when two-three men barged in claiming to be officers of the Narcotics Control Bureau who were there to conduct a raid, the police said.
The “officers” told the actor about a drug bust at the venue and agreed to not name her in the FIR if she paid Rs 20 lakh, they added.
“Harassed by constant calls from the two, the actor hanged herself from the ceiling fan of her residence on Thursday,” the police said, adding, the accused have been charged with abetment to suicide, cheating, and intimidation.
The police have not found any link between the accused and the anti-drugs agency. However, they are on the lookout for one Arif Qazi – an acquaintance of the actor – who they suspect to have been involved with the accused in their plan to cheat the actor.
Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik has alleged that the accused are a part of the NCB’s “private army”. Mr Malik has been extremely vocal in his allegations of irregularities in raids conducted by the anti-drugs agency since his son-in-law was arrested in a drug bust in Mumbai.
“Surely the NCB officials have created their private army in Mumbai. The business of extortion has been going on through them. There are many people in this army and the angle should be checked,” Mr Malik said.