The National Investigation Agency constable Devidas Vaishnav confessed to misuse of power for extortion to the Ahmedabad Crime Branch, stating that he was reportedly in need of money however at the NIA were the constable had a ‘good record’, he was dismissed from the services after the top NIA officials conducted an inquiry into the case.
Devidas Gopaldas Vaishnav (39) allegedly extorted Rs. 60 lakhs from city based trader Mukund Patel who has business of construction material. However Devidas who has assisted officials of NIA in several key terror investigations got caught in the CCTV camera of Patel and got exposed in the crime.
Vaishnav and four others who aided him were arrested by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch on June 23. Vaishnav and his friend Shankar Singh Shekhawat had barged into Patel’s office at CG road in the pretext of doing an inquiry on him.
While Devidas has been booked as the main accused in the case however the mastermind of the case is Naresh Brahmbhatt who planned to use Devidas as a pawn to extort money from Patel.
The Ahmedabad Crime Branch officials said that Brahmbhatt who is the same business as Patel’s knew that the latter is a big shot and has immense wealth. Brahmbhatt allegedly roped in his friend and accused Ritesh Shah into this. However the duo couldn’t find a way to extort money from him.
Shah who knew Devidas through Shankar Shekhawat decided to approach Devidas for the work. Devidas and Shekhawat are childhood friends who were brought up together in Odhav area of Ahmedabad.
Devidas who was a jawaan in the Border Security Force was posted in the 65th battalion at Punjab. He was sent on deputation to the NIA in 2011 where he served for four years and worked on several high profile cases too. He was later absorbed in the NIA as a constable on the basis of his splendid work for the agency, the crime branch officials added.
Investigating Officer, Inspector JM Yadav said, “He confessed to his crime when we interrogated him and said that he entered the Patel’s office as a NIA officer. He should his original ID card of the NIA and also carried his official diary that the NIA officers carry. The trader was convinced that he is indeed from NIA while Shekhawat imposed as NIA officer”.
He added, “Devidas accused Patel that he has transferred over Rs. 30 lakhs to a terrorist outfit and his activities are under the watch of the NIA. This left Patel shocked but he thought there might be some transaction committed by mistake by his employees or his own sons out of ignorance and he gave in to their demand of Rs. 60 lakhs to shut the case”.
The crime branch officials added that Brahmbhatt and Shah were confident that Patel will not complain to police for a “small amount like Rs. 60 lakhs” knowing his successful business network in Ahmedabad. However Patel informed police when he suspected that the officers could be imposters who came in the NIA.
The investigation took a turn when crime branch found that Devidas is a indeed a NIA officer however the police were still hunting for the accused who aided him.
Inspector Yadav added, “During his interrogation, he confessed to us that he was in need of money and when Shah approached him, he thought he will get a good share from the sum. Shah and Brahmbhatt were debt ridden and used Devidas for extortion. When we informed the NIA about this they told us that he is a fine officer who was absorbed in NIA because of his good work”.
Devidas who is now under the remand of the crime branch has expressed guilt to the investigators. As a BSF jawaan too, he has earned appreciation for his earnest work at the India-Pakistan border during his posting at Attari in Punjab. However his ‘clean’ record with the NIA has been permanently damaged.
Spokesperson of NIA told the Indian Express, “The DIG in Mumbai conducted an inquiry in this matter and under the rules of suspension, he was immediately suspended for his involvement in the Ahmedabad case”.
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