A National Investigation Agency constable, who was arrested by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch (ACB) in connection with an alleged extortion racket, has been suspended from service on the basis of his confession after an internal inquiry. Devidas Gopaldas Vaishnav (39) allegedly extorted Rs 60 lakh from a city-based building material trader Mukund Patel and was got caught on the CCTV camera.
Vaishnav and four others were arrested by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch on June 23. Vaishnav and his friend Shankar Singh Shekhawat had barged into Patel’s office on CG road on the pretext of an investigation into an alleged hawala transaction.
While Vaishnav has been booked as the main accused, the alleged mastermind was Naresh Brahmbhatt, also a building material trader, who planned to use Vaishnav as a pawn to extort money from Patel.
Police said that Brahmbhatt knew that Patel was wealthy. He allegedly roped in his friend Ritesh Shah to extort money from him. Since the duo could not act on their own, Shah who knew Vaishnav through Shankar Shekhawat of Odhav area in Ahmedabad, decided to seek the help of Vaishnav for the job.
Vaishnav, a BSF constable in the 65th battalion at Punjab,was sent on deputation to the NIA in 2011. After four years he was absorbed into the NIA on the basis of his splendid work, the crime branch officials added.
Investigating Officer and Inspector JM Yadav said, “He confessed to his crime when we interrogated him and said that he entered the Patel’s office as a NIA officer. He showed his original NIA ID card and also carried his official diary. The trader was convinced that he is indeed from the NIA while Shekhawat posed as NIA officer.”
A spokesperson of NIA told The Indian Express, “The DIG in Mumbai conducted an inquiry into this matter and under the service rules, he was immediately suspended for his involvement in the Ahmedabad case.”
He added, “Vaishnav accused Patel that he had transferred over Rs 30 lakh to a terrorist outfit and his activities were under the watch of the NIA. This left Patel shocked but he thought there might be some transaction committed by mistake by his employees or his sons out of ignorance and he gave in to their demand of Rs 60 lakh to shut the case.”
Police added that Brahmbhatt and Shah were confident that Patel would not complain to police for a “small amount like Rs 60 lakh”. However, Patel informed the police when he suspected that the NIA officers could be impostors.
The investigation took a turn when the crime branch officials found that Vaishnav is a indeed a NIA man.
Inspector Yadav added, “During interrogation, he confessed that he was in dire need of money and when Shah approached him, he thought he would get a good share from the extortion amount. Shah and Brahmbhatt were also debt- ridden and used Vaishnav to do the act. When we informed the NIA about this, they told us that he was a fine cadet who was absorbed in NIA because of his good work”.
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