Surat police have ordered an investigation after an Indian-origin US couple alleged that policemen raided their native home in Bardoli and threatened to “frame” them under prohibition laws on finding liquor bottles at their home, which they claimed were authorised.
Prakash Patel (55), a hotelier based in West Virginia in the US, also alleged that the policeman, who identified himself as Sub-Inspector V R Chaudhary and his team of five other policemen in plain clothes, not only took away all the liquor bottles, but also Rs 7 lakh from them for “settling the case”, which was returned to them after they filed a complaint with the police.
Patel and his wife, Falguni, had arrived in India in the first week of August and were visiting their native home in Bardoli.
In his September 8 application to IGP (Surat Range) Rajkumar Pandian, Patel alleged that on August 30, a man dressed in police uniform along with five others in plain clothes came to their residence and asked them whether they had any stock of liquor.
According to Patel, he told the Sub-Inspector that he possessed 21 bottles of liquor and two crates of beer, which he had brought with permit. On seeing the liquor bottles, the policeman allegedly threatened to arrest him, saying it was an offence to stock liquor without permit under the prohibition law.
Patel said that his mobile phone was seized by the policemen and his wife was not allowed to use the phone to call a doctor after he started feeling unwell.
Patel said that the policemen demanded Rs 15 lakh to “sort out” the matter, but later agreed to take Rs 7 lakh. Besides taking Rs 7 lakh and liquor stock, the policemen also took away the CCTV footage from the house, he alleged.
According to Patel, after he submitted an application to IGP Pandian, he received a call from the Sub-Inspector to “resolve the matter”. On September 10, one of the men who was with Sub-Inspector Chaudhary during the raid, turned up at the house with an unknown person and returned Rs 7 lakh and four liquor bottles, Patel said, adding that he has submitted a copy of the video which he had recorded when the person had come to hand over him the money to the police.
On Friday, Patel tweeted narrating his experience and tagged Prime Minister’s Office (@PMOIndia), External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) and Gujarat Chief Minister’s Office (@CMOGuj).
Meanwhile, IGP Pandian has handed over the inquiry to Dy SP (Surat) Hetal Patel. “I have just received the application submitted by Prakash Patel, and we are looking into it.”