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The Inside Story
His love for cricket and the necessity of paying his coach’s fee landed a 19-year-old man from Kalwa behind bars.

Harendra Ramchandra Yadav and his accomplice were arrested by the anti-extortion cell on Tuesday for making fake ransom calls to families of people who had gone missing. The reason: Yadav wanted to buy a cricket kit and pay his coach.

They were handed over to the Vartak Nagar police station.

With dreams of making it big, and a fan of Rohit Sharma, Yadav would practise at Azad Maidan. "The accused would play in inter-college matches and claims to have scored 300 runs in four matches," said Nasir Kulkarni, inspector, anti-extortion Cell.

Yadav, who would travel by train, met co-accused Narendra Jaiswal. “Jaiswal was putting up posters of missing people on trains and at the stations. The duo then decided to use the information to make ransom calls to the families,” said a police officer, requesting anonymity

The duo’s scheme came to the fore after the father of a missing boy received a ransom call from Yadav on April 1. He had demanded Rs1 lakh from him.

“The man, however, approached the police. We told him to go with the cash to Thane and Kalwa stations. We thought we could catch the accused, but Yadav did not turn up. Our investigations led us to other families who had received similar calls,” said NT Kadam, senior police inspector, anti-extortion Cell, Thane.

Both accused were tracked through their mobile phones and arrested from Waghoba Nagar in Kalwa. “The accused said they would snatch the money from the victims at the railway station and then flee. We are investigating how many cases they are involved in,” said Kulkarni, adding that they found Yadav’s cricket kit.

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