Pune: Sinhgad Technical Education Society’s President Maruti Navale has lodged an extortion complaint against Right to Information (RTI) activist Ravindra Barhate at the Deccan police station. This is the fourth complaint registered against Barhate in the last few days after he absconded in another extortion case filed by builder Sudhir Karnataki at Kothrud police station.
Barhate is absconding since July 8 and his locations were traced at Solapur, Lonavala and Panvel. Police have arrested his three aides who helped him flee from Pune despite travel restrictions during the lockdown period in the city.
According to the complaint, Navale had disputes with Chainsukh Gandhi in 2012 regarding the Pavan Gandhi Charitable Trust’s school and property at Amabdvet in Mulshi taluka. Taking undue advantage of this, Barhate had approached Gandhi and asked him to lodge a complaint against Navale. After a few days, Barhate had met Navale at his Sinhagad Institute office in Erandwane. Barhate threatened Navale with defamation and told him that the case filed by Gandhi can’t be settled out of court unless Navale pays him Rs 1 crore.
Navale had told him that he doesn’t have this big amount ready with him. So Barhate demanded Rs 50 lakh to be paid immediately or else face dire consequences. Fearing his life, Navale had paid Rs 20 lakh cash and gold biscuits worth Rs 20 lakh to Barhate. After receiving the extortion amount, Barhate asked Navale to not approach the police or else he will be killed, the complaint states. Senior Inspector Deepak Lagad is investigating this case.
So far, cases have been lodged against Barhate at Kothrud, Samarth, Khadak and Deccan police station. Barhate’s anticipatory bail has been rejected by a District and Session Court of Pune. In the Deccan police station case, Barhate’s aide Siddharth Mahindra Dangi (28), resident of Utkarsh Society in Katraj has also been named. Dangi is presently in police custody. Investigations have revealed that Dangi helped Barhate procure a new SIM card and hide at one Amol Nagarse’s home in Solapur after fleeing out of Pune city.