Man held for blackmailing Karan Patel and Rithvik Dhanjani

Mumbai Police have arrested a man for extortion and blackmailing television actors Rithvik Dhanjani and Karan Patel who were hosts of the recently concluded celebrity dance show ‘Nach Baliye 7’.

Last week, there were reports that a complaint was filed against the duo for ‘insulting’ national heroes and the Indian constitution during the shooting of the dance show.

It has emerged that the arrested person identified as Amit Barik had recorded a video of Karan and Rithvik mimicking some national leaders on the sets of ‘Nach Baliye’ and filed a complaint against them at Arey Colony police station. The man then started blackmailing the duo and threatened to circulate the video if they do not pay him Rs 20 lakh.

“After filing the case, Barik started threatening the duo that if they did not shell out Rs 25 lakh, he would release the video to the media,” DCP (Detection) Dhananjay Kulkarni was quoted as saying by a leading daily.

Fed up with frequent extortion calls, Karan and Rithvik approached a friend who runs an NGO. This friend met the blackmailer, introducing himself as a retired army officer, and requested him to show leniency because the two had apologised for the mimicry, police said.

However, the man threatened their friend and asked for ransom from him too. Karan, Rithvik and their friend then approached the police and lodged a complaint yesterday.

The sleuths of Anti Extortion Cell of the crime branch laid a trap at Oshiwara bus depot and arrested the 32-year-old blackmailer red-handed while accepting Rs 15 lakh as the first instalment of the ransom.

The accused, a resident of Bihar, had some cases registered against him in neighbouring Thane district too, police said.