“We will find the black sheep in the force and put them to task,” said Noida SSP Vaibhav Krishna after arresting an SHO and three journalists for alleged extortion.
The officer in question, Manoj Kumar Pant, had taken charge of Noida’s Sector 20 police station as SHO eight months ago, under the tenure of Dr Ajay Pal Sharma, the then SSP. Pant had been appointed after former SHO Anil Shahi was transferred, soon after mistaking RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha for an activist, and forcing him into a PCR van during a protest.
Hailing from Uttarakhand and a 2000 batch UP Police personnel, Pant served at various positions. In Gautam Buddh Nagar district, he served as the public relations officer to the SSP as well as the Surajpur SHO.
In 2006, while he was posted as station-in-charge of Gomti Nagar police station, Lucknow, he was accused of sexual harassment and making a false promise of marriage by a local resident.
The investigation in the case is currently on.
At Sector 20, Pant has been overseeing several high-profile cases. Most recently, an FIR was filed at Sector 20 police station by Paytm chief Vijay Sharma against his personal secretary Sonia Dhawan for alleged extortion.
Noida Police will now be handing over investigation of certain cases under Sector 20 to a different team. “While we will not be revisiting cases, some cases whose investigation was being looked into by the SHO will be handled by a different team. Few cases, which involved busting of fake call centres, will also come under the same ambit. We are investigating if a similar nexus was at play in previous cases as well,” said SSP Krishna.
Of the arrested journalists, Udit Goyal, a freelancer for a news channel, has a previous case of forgery against him.
Raman Thakur has previously worked as a freelancer with several news channels.
Sushil Pandit had been with his recently formed organisation called Sansani India, after having worked with other regional channels in the past.