Gujarat: Amreli SP held for kidnapping Surat builder, Bitcoin extortionhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/amreli-sp-held-for-kidnapping-surat-builder-bitcoin-extortion-5148976/

Gujarat: Amreli SP held for kidnapping Surat builder, Bitcoin extortion

The accused allegedly forced Kirit Paladiya to transfer 200 Bitcoins, worth Rs 12 crore to the phone of the relative of another accused Ketan Patel. However, the police said that no such transactions were recorded on that day.

Superintendent of Police (Amreli) Jagdish Patel

The Gujarat CID (Crime) on Monday arrested Amreli Superintendent of Police (SP) Jagdish Patel for the alleged abduction of a Surat-based builder and extortion of Bitcoins and money from him. The SP was brought to Ahmedabad and declared arrested following questioning. The CID officials said that the SP was arrested on the basis of a statement given by his subordinate and a key accused in the case, police inspector Anant Patel, who is currently in police custody. Anant has reportedly told the investigators that he had acted on the orders of his SP.

“SP Jagdish Patel was arrested on the basis of a statement given by Anant Patel. The latter has said that he came to Gandhinagar and picked up the Surat-based builder on the instructions of the SP. He has claimed that he was only following the order of his senior officer,” said a senior CID officer.

According to the officer, beside Anant’s statement, the mobile phone call detail records (CDR) between the SP and the PI on the day of the incident and a day before that shows that the two worked in collusion.  Sources said that the accused used a secret phone number to communicate which has also been traced by the CID officers.

Earlier this month, the CID had booked Anant, Assistant Sub-Inspector Sanjay Padmani and seven other constables, who were part of the Amreli Local Crime Branch (LCB) team for allegedly abducting Surat-based builder Shalilesh Bhatt, his partner Kirit Paladiya and his driver Mahipalsinh. They have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) corresponding to extortion, kidnapping, wrongful confinement, prevention of corruption act, among other charges.

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Bhatt had lodged a complaint about his abduction to the Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja, who then ordered the CID to look into it. After an inquiry, the CID had lodged an FIR against the accused.

The CID found that on February 11, Kirit Paladiya called Bhatt to a petrol pump in Gandhinagar. About five to six policemen, including Sanjay Padmani, head constables Babubhai Der, Umed Mehta, Suresh Khuman, Nur Mohammed, constable Vijay Vadher were already present at the petrol pump in their official vehicle.

According to Bhatt’s complaint, the accused policemen took Bhatt, Paladiya and Bhatt’s driver Mahipalsinh to a farm-house, owned by Hasmukh, Jayesh and Haresh Gurjar. Here, according to CID officials, the three were kept in illegal confinement for more than five hours and were threatened.

The accused allegedly forced Paladiya to transfer 200 Bitcoins, worth Rs 12 crore to the phone of the relative of another accused Ketan Patel. However, the police said that no such transactions were recorded on that day.

According to CID officials, there is no evidence pointing to the exchange of money. But kidnapping and illegal confinement have been proved through the CCTV footage procured from the petrol pump and the farm house, beside the location records of the phone numbers of the accused and the complainant. The policemen are also accused of trying to extort Rs 32 crore from the builder through angadia (courier) firms— P M Angadia and P Umesh. The firms’ managers have testified in the case, but said that no such transaction ever took place.

CID officials said that when the builder was in custody he talked to the courier firms’ manager and assured the accused cops of sending money but once he was out of their custody he called them back and said no such deal happened. Meanwhile, a sessions court in Ahmedabad on Monday granted bail applications of two accused constables Babubhai Der and Vijay Vadher.