Updated: July 8, 2021 9:39:56 am
Right to Information (RTI) activist Ravindra Barhate, who was recently arrested in a case of land grabbing, was produced before a special court on Wednesday. The court remanded him to police custody till July 16 for further investigation.
Barhate, who was wanted in nearly 16 criminal cases of cheating, extortion and land grab, was on the run for about a year and was taken into custody by Pune City Police on Tuesday. He was arrested in a case lodged at the Hadapsar police station by one Sumant Dethe and produced before the special court.
According to the FIR lodged by Dethe, he had taken a loan of Rs 25 lakh from Vishal Dhore, a money lender, last year. Barhate, who had links with Dhore, allegedly threatened to charge a huge interest rate and grab his property if the loan was not repaid.
The accused have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and Maharashtra Money Lending (Regulation) Act. The stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) was also invoked against Barhate and his alleged aides, including a journalist Devendra Jain and two dismissed police personnel Shailesh Jagtap and Parvez Jamadar, in this case.
Police have till now arrested 21 persons in this case, including Barhate’s son Mayur, wife Sangeeta, lawyer Sunil More and one Pitambar Dhiwar.
Prosecution told the court that Barhate had uploaded 12 videos on his Facebook account while he was on the run. Police are trying to find out who helped Barhate make these videos, who provided the internet facility, and locations where the videos were recorded. Special Public Prosecutor Pravin Chavan sought Barhate’s police custody for further investigation. The prosecution also said probe is on to know whether he committed any crimes while he was absconding.
The special court then remanded him to police custody till July 16 and also extended the custody of his son Mayur by two days for investigation, while his wife and other accused were remanded to magisterial custody.
Multiple FIRs were lodged against Barhate and his aides in the last one year. In September last year, an anticipatory bail plea filed by Barhate was rejected by the Supreme Court. In October, Pune City Police invoked the stringent MCOCA in two cases against him.
While invoking MCOCA against the accused, police had stated that Barhate had allegedly formed an organised gang and committed multiple crimes like cheating, threatening and extortion in the last 10 years. Police had also claimed that Barhate acquired property worth Rs 2,700 crore through illegal activities.
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