Ram Madhav imposter who extorted money from politicians arrested

New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS) A former journalist, who had allegedly duped bureaucrats and politicians, including several ministers, of large sums of money posing as an important political personage, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s aide, and lately as BJP national General Secretary Ram Madhav, has been arrested, police said on Friday.

Sanjay Tiwari, 40, and his accomplice Gaurav Sharma, 23, were arrested on Wednesday, days after they made a phone call to Amar Kumar Bauri, Minister of Revenue in Jharkhand, posing as the BJP leader, and demanded Rs 5 lakh as fund for the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab elections.

Police said that Tiwari, a resident of Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh, on Monday sent another person from his group for a meeting with the minister in Delhi. However, the deal couldn’t be done.

One of the minister’s aides smelt a rat and telephoned Ram Madhav’s office to inquire about the demand. He was told that no such call was made to Bauri, police said.

The minister’s office then contacted the police to file a complaint.

The police traced the phone call and arrested Tiwari and Sharma, a resident of Noida, on Wednesday night from ITO crossing in Delhi.

After sustained interrogation, the accused, who lived in Mayur Vihar area of Delhi, told the police about their modus operandi to extort money from politicians and bureaucrats.

“They have either cheated or attempted to cheat or extort money from several political leaders as well as government officials on fake representations,” Joint Commissioner of Police Ravindra Yadav told reporters here.

“Tiwari confessed that he had duped dozens of MPs in the name of tribal development funds in 2007 and 2008.

“He also attempted to extort Rs 10 lakh in 2016 from Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain,” Yadav said.

In October last year, Tiwari extorted Rs 1 or 2 lakh for a poor girls’ marriage fund from Anil Sharma, an ex-BJP MLA, pretending to speak on behalf of Bhaiyaji Joshi of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Yadav said Tiwari had earlier extorted Rs 10 lakh from an ex-MLA of the Congress Party in Punjab after posing as P.P. Madhavan, a close aide of Sonia Gandhi.

The Congress leader was offered a ticket for Punjab elections, Yadav said.

“Tiwari is an expert in the working tactics of how MPs operate politically. He used separate SIM cards for individual extortion deals. He extorted over a dozen of political leaders on the pretext of promoting them in their parties, ensuring election tickets or grooming their career. The victims used to pay him huge amounts in the garb of party donations and election funds,” the police officer said.

Tiwari, a Class 10 dropout, used to frequent head offices of major political parties including the Congress and BJP.

He had procured fake identity cards and hired some youths who were unaware of his crime syndicate. He used to send his hired men to meet his victims and collect money from them.

Police said he had done many sting operations of various political leaders while working with Tarun Tejpal, former editor of Tehelka Magazine.

“He also claimed to have done a sting operation on BSP’s Mayawati,” Yadav said.

Tiwari came to Delhi in 1999 and started working as a freelancer poem reader in All India Radio. He also worked briefly as a personal associate with filmmaker Tanuja Chandra.