The Pune Rural Police have invoked the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against 12 members of a gang that operated in the guise of “Hind Kamgar Sanghatna” and allegedly extorted money from businessmen in Ranjangaon Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). All the suspects have been released on bail. One of the suspects has been identified as Kailas Kadam, who is the leader of the gang, police said.
Sandeep Patil, Superintendent of Pune Rural Police, said, “Kailas Kadam and other members of the gang have a criminal past. They were involved in crimes in Ranjangaon. So MCOCA has been invoked in the criminal cases involving members of the Hind Kamgar Sanghatna.”
Police said that several cases were lodged against the members of this gang since February for allegedly demanding extortion money and threatening officials of companies in Ranjangaon MIDC.
The police said that in the latest case, the gang was allegedly demanding money from workers to form a union. Those who were not paying up or joining the union were being threatened with dire consequences, police said. SP Patil said the gang members had been arrested and later they secured bail. “We are going to seek cancellation of their bail. We will soon move the court,” he said.
Patil said they are taking action against gangs operating in Ranjangaon and Shirur under the guise of “Kamgar Sanghatanas”. “We are keeping close watch on their activities and will take strong action against them if they are found indulging in illegal activities,” he said.
The latest police action has brought some relief to industrialists who are seeking strict action against the gangs in Ranjangaon, Sanaswadi and neighbouring areas. “For years, there are some people here who have been harassing industrialists and workers. Extortion and forcibly seeking contract and threats have become common. More criminals should be arrested and MCOCA slapped on them,” said an industrialist from Shirur.
Not only in Ranjangaon, industrialists in Chakan, Talegaon and Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial belt, too, have been demanding strict action against the gangs.
A delegation of German industries (from Chakan) led by its consul general Jurgen Morhad had in July this year met District Collector Naval Kishore Ram and urged him to look into security issues. Chakan industrial area houses many big firms like Vokswagen, Tata Motors, Tetra Pak and Bridgestone.