Mahesh Bhatt gets threats, UP police detain one suspect

Mumbai, March 2: The Uttar Pradesh Police have detained a person suspected to have issued death threats to veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and his family members on WhatsApp, police sources here said on Thursday.

The development came barely hours after Bhatt lodged at the Juhu police station a complaint of extortion-cum-death threat against himself, wife Soni and actress daughter Alia from an "unknown person".

Mumbai police's Anti-Extortion Cell contacted the Uttar Pradesh Police who swung into action and detained a suspect in the case early Thursday.

A Mumbai police team is expected to go to Uttar Pradesh shortly to take custody of the detained man and bring him to Mumbai, the sources here said.

According to the 69-year old Bhatt, the caller allegedly demanded Rs 50 lakh, failing which he would eliminate his wife Soni (60) and and daughter Alia (24).

Later, Bhatt tweeted: "A bolt from the blue in the form of an extortion call and threat to my family was nipped in the bud by the Maharashtra and UP Police in tandem. Gratitude!"

Bhatt had first received the call on February 26, but he dismissed it as a prank initially.

However, it was followed up with a series of WhatsApp messages and SMSes from a purported gangster who demanded that Bhatt should deposit the money in a Lucknow bank branch, failing which, it would lead to firing on the filmmaker's wife and daughter.

Perturbed by the messages, Bhatt lodged the police complaint late on Wednesday.

Earlier, Bhatt had been targeted by a gang of 13 who conspired to kill him but were arrested in November 2014 before they could carry out their plans.