‘Life imitates art’ is an age-old adage and for Anirban Kanjilal (43), arrested last week by the Kolkata Police, the phrase appears to be his life driving force. The conman was posing as a CBI officer for some time and led a team of misfits, quite similarly on the lines of the movie ‘Special Chhabis’ and targeted shoddy businessmen, often kidnapping them and later asking for ransom from their desperate families.
At least a dozen businessmen were abducted through the run of the fake CBI racket — the exact duration is being investigated — but the cover was blown with the arrest of a journalist that worked with Anirban, according to a report by The Print.
Avishek Sengupta, the journalist on probation with Republic Bangla along with four others, allegedly met businessman Ajit Roy posing as CBI officers and took him away claiming that they had arrest warrants against him.
Later, the wife of the businessman panicked and lodged a complaint with Kasba police that her husband had been abducted by some miscreants in the guise of CBI sleuths. The fake CBI officers made their extortion call asking for Rs 2 crore. However, after a lot of negotiations, the accused settled the ransom for Rs 15 lakh that was paid to them through a friend of the victim.
Initially, Sengupta’s accomplices, Swarup Roy, Pratik Sarkar and Rajesh Adhikar, were the only ones arrested as he remained on the run. But the authorities using their investigative prowess managed to apprehend Sengupta and cracked open the case of Kanjilal’s ‘Special 16’.
Republic Media quickly released a statement where they cleared the air that Sengupta was not a permanent employee of the organisation and that he was on probation only.
“Republic Bangla has suspended from service Avishek Sengupta. Avishek Sengupta was under probation and was not a confirmed employee of Republic Bangla. His probation stands suspended effective 25 May 2021.”
PRESS RELEASE: REPUBLIC BANGLA SUSPENDS PROBATIONER ACCUSED OF IMPERSONATING INVESTIGATING AGENCY OFFICIALS
— Republic (@republic) May 26, 2021
It is being reported that Avishek worked on the CBI beat for the company and that’s how he met Kanjilal who often used to loiter around in the CBI canteen at the Nizam Palace (CBIs central headquarters) and overheard conversations between journalists to use them later in his elaborate scams. To lend authenticity to his character, Kanjilal travelled in a vehicle having a blue beacon.
“He (Kanjilal) introduced himself as a CBI officer. Not only Abhishek, many journalists covering the CBI knew him as an officer working with the central agency. During the investigation, we came across many reporters who have his name saved (on their phones) as a CBI officer,” a police officer was quoted as saying.
The modus operandi of Kanjilal and his gang of 16 fake CBI sleuths was simple. Pick a prey/businessman that is gullible and has something to hide from the authorities. Muscle your way through with confidence, wearing official clothing, carry fake documents and corner the businessman and his family into paying the ransom.
The entire operation would have continued to work like a charm if the victim’s wife had not lodged the complaint. With the arrests, it is likely to become clear the scale of Kanjilal’s enterprise and how long he was posing as a fake CBI officer and pulling his ill-intentioned scheme.