VIRAL GADHVI, the police inspector of the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) of Rajkot city police who is placed under suspension, and Upendra Jograna, a former sub-inspector with the Rajkot Crime Branch, were booked Thursday for allegedly restraining an Unjha businessman wrongfully in Gujarat’s Rajkot, torturing and trying to force him to surrender a property document.
Based on a complaint filed by Mahesh Patel, a businessman hailing from Unjha town of Mehsana district, an FIR was registered at the Pradyuman Nagar police station Thursday. In his complaint, Patel named Gadhvi and Jograna and ‘others’ as accused.
The police officers have been charged with various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for wrongful restraint, voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession or information about property, etc, wrongful confinement to extort property, wrongful confinement to extort confession or compel restoration of property, public servant disobeying law with intent to cause injury to any person, voluntarily causing hurt, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace, criminal intimidation and acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intent.
Patel told the police that the sub-inspector and a few others who are allegedly Crime Branch sleuths brought him to Rajkot from Unjha on January 21 to take hold of the original agreement-to-sell deed pertaining to 30 acres of land in the Raiya area of Rajkot. One person named Rajesh Jasani had executed the deed to sell the land to Patel after the latter paid Jasani Rs 5 crore, he stated in the complaint.
Police said that Jograna and ‘others’ picked Patel from his office in Unjha and first took him to Unjha police station. Later on, ‘the police officers’ brought Patel to Rajkot in a private car, saying they wanted to question him in connection with an ‘application.’
According to police, the accused “mentally tortured” Patel and restrained him wrongfully. The next day, ‘Crime Branch personnel’ punched and kicked the businessman and abused him verbally before taking him to the chamber of Gadhvi, where the inspector beat Patel with a fibre pipe with the intention to extort the original agreement deed, the complaint said.
Police said that Jograna again took the businessmen to Gadhvi’s office in Rajkot two days later. Gadhvi thrashed the victim with a polymer pipe again and forced the businessmen to agree to surrender the original deed.
Jograna was later transferred to Ahmedabad Rural police. Days later, Gadhvi and seven sub-inspectors with the Rajkot Crime Branch were transferred in February based on a corruption allegation by two businessmen from Rajkot which was openly backed by the then BJP MLA and former minister Govind Patel.
In a letter to the then home minister Harsh Sanghvi, Govind Patel had accused a senior police officer of taking “hawala” and demanding Rs 75 lakh as his share from the Rs 7 crore which the Crime Branch officers had helped the two businessmen brothers recover from alleged fraudsters.
Gadhvi was later suspended in the case while the state government had initiated an inquiry against the other officers of Rajkot city police, including the then police commissioner Manoj Agarwal. Agarwal was later transferred.