Yogi claims law and order improved, but 10 BJP MLAs get extortion messages

Even as Yogi Adityanath claimed that the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh had improved, at least 10 legislators from BJP have claimed to receive the extortion calls on WhatsApp

PTI Photo
PTI Photo
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Biswajeet Banerjee

Even as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claimed during an election rally on Tuesday that the law and order in UP had improved and criminals were running for cover, a few BJP law makers lodged complaints with the police in different parts of the state alleging that they received extortion calls and that their lives were under threat.

There are at least 10 legislators from BJP and two senior party functionaries who have received the extortion messages on WhatsApp. The person who sent the message claimed to be Ali Baba Budesh.

The lawmakers who received the alleged threatening calls include Shashank Trivedi (Maholi in Sitapur), Anita Lodhi (Dibai – Bulandshahar), Lokendra Pratap Singh (Mohamaddi in Khiri), Veer Vikram Singh (Katra – Shahajahanpur), Vinay Kumar Dwivedi (Mehnanu constituency), Premnath Pandey (Tarabganj), Shyam Bihari Lal (Fareed pur) and Vinod Katiyar (Bhogniupur in Kanpur Dehat).

A senior official in the Home department said that a few BJP legislators have received threats in the last three days. The messages were received on WhatsApp. Allegedly, the extortionists threatened to kill their families if the ransom money wasn’t paid, he said.

The message that all the legislators received was similar. The message, in Hindi, stated “I am Ali Budesh Bhai. Do you know me? I am not here for a long chat. If you care about yourself or the safety of your family, pay ₹10 lakh within three days. I promise after three days we will start killing your family members, so that you understand that we are serious. Your are left with just three days. Do not waste time.”

DIG Law and Order Praveen Kumar said the message was sent by some miscreants. The Special Task Force is working on it and we will solve the matter soon.

A senior official in Home department said that some BJP legislators have received threats in last three days. The messages were received on WhatsApp. The extortionists have threatened to target their families and even said that their family members will be killed if ransom money is not paid, he said.

Despite this assurance BJP law makers are living in fear. Anita Lodhi, BJP MLA from Dibai, said she had received a call too where the caller has claimed that he knew her family members. “I have lodged a complaint with police. It will be better if it solves the case early and arrests the culprit,” she said.

Lodhi, who is originally from Bulundshar, currently resides at Ghaziabad, so she has lodged a case in Ghaziabad while five other MLAs have lodged complaints in Lucknow.

Anita Lodhi said she suspected that some notorious criminal was behind this operation as she believes that no small-time criminal would dare threaten ruling Party MLAs. “That man knows who I spoke to and when. This shows his network is strong,” the BJP legislator said.

The BJP general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said that this seemed to be the work of some mischief mongers. “When the Yogi government is able to bring crime under control some people are attempting to discredit the government by sending extortion messages to BJP MLAs. Believe me, it is a political controversy,” said Pathak.

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