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ISLAMABAD: Three people were arrested for defrauding a man on the pretext of arranging a political party ticket for him to contest a provincial assembly seat.

Police described the suspects as swindlers who defrauded people in various disguises. They said the police learned of their activities because they were claiming to be influential members of the PTI.

Police said they claimed to have a personal relationship with figures in Banigala, where Prime Minister Imran Khan’s private residence is situated.

A police officer told Dawn that the matter was brought to the police by the director of a news channel. The director had interviewed politicians before the elections, at which time he met a man who offered to arrange tickets for the national and provincial assemblies through an alleged personal relationship with the top management in Banigala, the officer said.

The man also demanded money for the tickets, he said. The director then met with a man from Sahiwal who expressed interest in buying a ticket for the PP-20 by-election.

A meeting was arranged between the ticket seeker and the man who had offered his services, who was accompanied by two others, the officer said. They demanded Rs25 million on the pretext of party funds.

The three individuals called the director and asked him to meet them in Ali Market in F-11/1 on Monday, the officer said. They demanded the payment, and the director in response asked for a meeting to be arranged with a responsible individual in Banigala he could pay the sum to.

“They asked him to trust them and later threatened him,” the officer said. Their attitude caused the director to become suspicious, and the director left, he said.

He added that a complaint was lodged with the Shalimar police alleging that the individuals were defrauding people and were unaffiliated with the political party. One of the suspects is a close relative of a newly elected parliamentarian from the governing party, while the other two are his friends.

A case was registered in response under sections 419 and 420 of the PPC, the officer said, and the three suspects were arrested with the complainant’s help. They are in custody and further investigations are ongoing.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2018