A group of 23 jewellers on Monday moved the Bombay High Court seeking action against six policemen for allegedly arresting and detaining them in a lock-up for refusing to pay hafta (bribe).
The petition,filed by Mulund Jewellers Welfare Association (MJWA),alleged that the officers had,on January 31,summoned the 23 members of the association and allegedly sought protection money claiming that one of the jewellers had bought stolen jewellery.
The MJWA alleged that the police officers asked the small-time jewellers to pay Rs 5,000 every month,while the better-off jewellers were asked to pay Rs 10,000 a month. As they refused to pay,their petition states,the officers from Mulund police station slapped false charges against them of joining an unlawful assembly and seeking illegal gratification. The 23 jewellers were arrested and kept in police custody before they were produced before a magistrate on February 1. Before the magistrate,they complained of mental and physical torture. After a medical examination,the magistrate released them on bail. Justices A M Khanwilkar and A R Joshi sought the case papers from the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate that had recorded the statements of the jewellers. The court directed the state government to produce the papers on August 6.