Pune: Kondhwa police have booked four unidentified suspects impersonating as crime branch police officers and extorted Rs 1 lakh from a shop owner after threatening him with action for lockdown norms violation.
Prakash Premaram Bhati (32), a resident of Ajmera Park in Kondhwa Khurd and originally from Rajasthan, has filed a complaint in this regard at the Kondhwa police station. Based on his complaint, police have registered a FIR against the four unidentified suspects under section 384 (punishment for extortion), 170 (personating a public servant) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
According to the complaint, Bhati owns a shop called Rajlakshmi Super Market in Kondhwa. He also has a storeroom behind the Dharmavat Petrol Pump. While he was working at his storeroom on July 22 morning at around 9am, the four suspects entered the premises and pulled the shutter down. When Bhati asked for their identity cards and credentials, the suspects told Bhati that they were from the crime branch of the Pune city police. The suspects then threatened Bhati with filing a complaint against him for violating the norms laid down for the lockdown period. The suspects said they would register a case against him for selling gutkha and other items which are prohibited during the lockdown.
When Bhati pleaded to not take any action, the suspects demanded Rs 5 lakh from him. Bhati agreed to pay Rs 15 thousand. The four persons took the amount and left. They came back around 11am and demanded Rs 1 lakh from Bhati’s brother. Bhati’s brother then gave them Rs 50 thousand but the suspects insisted on Rs 1 lakh as a bribe amount. So, Bhati and his brother collected the remaining amount from their friends and relatives and gave it to the suspects.
Bhati remembered the registration number of the vehicle from which the suspects had arrived. He informed his friend to find out whether that vehicle really belonged to the police department. It was then revealed that the four suspects had impersonated cops. Police Inspector Chaitali Gapat is probing the case.