A BJP leader and eight others were booked for extortion and abetment of suicide in connection with the death of a factory owner who consumed poison in Chhapra village in Lodhikha taluka, Rajkot.
A case was registered against the accused, based on a complaint filed by his wife who alleged that her husband was forced to take the extreme step unable to bear the harassment.
Jigna Gamdha, wife of Ramesh Gamdha (43), who owned a cotton ginning factory and an oil mill in Lodhikha, filed a complaint in the presence of Rajkot rural SP Antrip Sood. Despite the police registering an FIR, Gamdha refused to claim the body of her husband.
In her complaint, she alleged that Devraj Sakhiya, president of BJP’s Rajkot district unit, and others harassed her husband despite repaying the Rs 51.15 crore loan he took from them.
The accused allegedly forced the factory owner to sign sale-agreements (sata khat) for the land that he and his family members owned, including houses and shops. The also allegedly forced him to sign blank cheques, promissory notes and blank stamp papers. The accused also took away one kilogramme gold belonging to Gamdha’s family and threatened to kill his two nephews if he did not shell more money, the complaint reads.
After filing the complaint, the family sought the arrest of the accused. “Before making any arrest, we shall have to do some investigation in the case,” Lodhika police sub-inspector Mahendrasinh Rana said.
Based on her complaint, Lodhika police booked Devraj Sakhiya and other accused under IPC Sections 306 (abetment of suicide), 387 (putting person in fear of death in order to extort money), 384 (punishment for extortion), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) and 114 (common intent).
Rajkot rural SP Antrip Sood said police can’t mediate any recovery of property or money. “After we received an application from his wife, we had approached the family and told them we were ready to register a FIR. But they refused to file a complaint then. We have recorded their stand in their statements. They said they would like to wait for Gamdha’s recovery before filing a FIR. However, we are not mediating any recovery as that is not our job,” Sood told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, Sakhiya claimed he was being dragged into the controversy for political gains. “I have nothing to do with Gamdha. I am not associated with the private financing firm named in the application. As a matter of fact,
my relatives had purchased land from him and had made partial payment. But later on, he refused to execute a deed of sale of the land. They are dragging my name into this for political reasons,” Sakhiya said.