1 Jan 2009

Singh Dhoni receives threats

5:49 am on 1 January 2009

Police have beefed up security around India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni after he received extortion letters from a man claiming to be an associate of the country's most wanted gangster.

Police say they've sent more than 45 commandos to Dhoni's house in his hometown of Ranchi, the capital of the eastern state of Jharkhand, one of India's poorest states.

The first letter threatened Dhoni's family with dire consequences if the player failed to pay 5 million rupees anout 177 thousand dollars.

A second letter yesterday threatened to blow up the captain's family home if police were asked for help.

Dawood Ibrahim is India's most wanted man for allegedly masterminding the country's most deadly bombings in 1993, which killed at least 250 people in Mumbai.

The underworld boss has eluded authorities for the past 15 years and is believed to be hiding in Pakistan. By the 1980s and 1990s, he was one of Mumbai's top gangland leaders, with a billion-dollar vice empire spanning gambling, drugs and prostitution.

Police say they have started an investigation into the letters.

Dhoni had already received extra security cover after Maoist rebels made death threats against him last year.