President of Rajkot district unit of the BJP, Devraj Sakhiya, and eight others were booked by police on Tuesday for extortion and abetment to suicide after a woman filed a complaint alleging that they forced her husband to commit suicide by way of extorting money and using coercive ways to recover loans. Jigna Gamdha, the wife of 43-year-old Ramesh Gamdha who owned a cotton ginning factory and an oil mill in Lodhikha, filed a complaint naming nine persons including Sakhiya for extortion.
In her compaint, she stated that her husband had borrowed Rs 51.15 crore from the accused but had repaid the loans with interest in due time. However, the accused forced the factory owner to sign sale-agreements (sata khat) for land that he and his family members owned along with houses, shops, and forced him to sign blank cheques, promissory notes and blank stamp papers.
The accused, she alleged, also took away one kilo of gold belonging to women members of Gamdha’s family and threatened to kill Ramesh’s two nephews if he did not shell out more money, the complaint stated. Based on her complaint, police booked Sakhiya and other accused under IPC sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 387 (putting person in fear of death in order to extort money), 384 (punishment for extortion), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) and 114 (common intent).
However, Gamdha’s family refused to claim his body, saying they would not do so until those named in the FIR have been arrested.
Ramesh Gamdha had allegedly consumed poison in his oil mill in Chhapra village of Lodhikha taluka of Rajkot on June 9. He was admitted to a hospital where he died on Saturday.
Sakhiya had earlier claimed that he was dragged into the controversy for political ends. “I have nothing to do with Ramesh Gamdha. My relatives had purchased land from him and had made partial payment. But later on, he refused to execute the land sale deed,” Sakhiya had said.