Four policemen, including two sub-inspectors, have been suspended for allegedly extorting Rs 7 lakh from a 35-year-old village pradhan by threatening to frame him in a drug case in Bareilly. The policemen and another accused, a homeguard, are absconding.
The money was allegedly accepted in the room of one of the sub-inspectors’ residence on the Aliganj Police Station campus in Bareilly. The police are yet to recover the money.
In his police complaint, Dhakia village pradhan Chhatrapal alleged that the accused planted drugs in his car on the pretext of searching it and later threatened to frame him if he failed to pay extortion money, police said. The incident occurred on December 8 and an FIR was lodged late on Tuesday evening after Chhatrapal approached senior police officers.
Sub-inspectors Nitin Sharma and Mukesh Kumar, constables Devendra and Dhananjay, and homeguard Angad Lal have been booked under IPC section 342 (wrongful confinement) and the Prevention of Corruption Act. The homeguard’s name cropped up later during investigation.
“No crime record of Chhatrapal was found,” said Station officer of Aliganj police station, Manoj Kumar Mishra.
Bareilly Senior Superintendent of Police Shailesh Kumar Pandey said all the four policemen had been suspended.
Chhatrapal, who owns a brick kiln, told The Indian Express that he was returning home alone from his relative’s house at Visaratganj area of the city on Friday afternoon. When he reached Bheekapur area, constable Dhananjay and homeguard Angad Lal waved to halt the car.
“Dhananjay told me that he wanted to speak to me and asked me to follow his motorcycle. After covering a distance of a kilometer, Dhananjay stopped his motorcycle. A few minutes later, Nitin Sharma, Mukesh and Devendra arrived on separate motorcycles. They told me that they were tipped off that I was carrying drugs in my car. They searched it but did not find anything objectionable,” said Chhatrapal, a first time pradhan.
After a few minutes, his car was searched again and Dhananjay emerged from it with a packet allegedly containing drugs. “They demanded Rs 15 lakh from me to settle the case,” said Chhatrapal.
The accused later settled for Rs 7 lakh. “They also made a video and forced me to admit that the packet belonged to me. They took me to Sharma’s residence which is located on the campus of Aliganj police station. My two employees reached there and I handed over the money to the policemen,” said Chhatrapal.
“The policemen also threatened to circulate the video if I revealed the incident to anyone,” he said, adding that he told villagers and relatives about the incident who suggested that he should register a complaint.