An extortion racket that involved a woman seeking a lift, asking for the car to be stopped near a police van, and then making false rape allegations has been busted by Noida Police with the arrest of 15 people, including several policemen.
Among the arrested accused are a chowki in-charge, Noida Police constables and three drivers of UP 100 PCR vans. Two women who asked for lifts and six other men have also been arrested.
“Police were informed three-four days ago about a possible extortion nexus between Sector 39 police officers and some people. A complainant alleged that a woman would ask for a lift and stop the car where a PCR van would be parked, near Sector 44 police booth. The woman would get out of the car and complain to police personnel that she had been raped. The fake complaint would then be used by the other accused to blackmail the vehicle owner,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (Gautam Budh Nagar) Vaibhav Krishna.
According to police, Sector 44 booth in-charge Sunil Sharma was allegedly caught accepting a Rs 50,000 bribe when investigators acted on a man’s complaint. Sharma revealed names of the others involved in the racket during questioning, police said. According to police, the two women would spot cars being driven by young men and ask for a lift in the area around Mahamaya Flyover.
As soon as the car would cover some distance and near a police picket or PCR van, the women would ask for the car to be stopped and then make rape allegations.
“The policemen and the accused had a fixed modus operandi. Once the driver would enter the booth, some accused would appear on behalf of the woman and demand action. An accused, Harishankar, would appear as a lawyer. He did not have any licence. Another accused, Deshraj Awana, referred to himself as the ‘Chairman’, and he would ask the driver to reach a compromise and avoid an FIR,” said Krishna.
Police claimed the booth in-charge took a cut of 40% from the extortion money. So far, three people have come forward with complaints, and police claim there have been around 15 such incidents.
While the total extortion amount is a matter of investigation, police said the gang took Rs 2 lakh from a victim on one occasion and Rs 6 lakh from another. Sharma was earlier posted at the Expressway police station and police are probing if he committed similar crimes during his previous tenure.
The gang had been operating for the last six months, coinciding with Sharma’s posting at the Sector 44 booth, police said. The constables and PCR drivers would allegedly assist him in the extortion, police said.
A Honda City, a Verna, an i10 Grand car and Rs 50,000 cash was recovered from the accused.
The two women and two accused, Ankit and Satish, have served prison sentences in 2014 and 2017 for committing alleged extortion with the help of policemen in Faridabad. Noida Police will obtain further information of their criminal records from Faridabad Police.
Sections under the Prevention of Corruption Act have been added, along with relevant sections of fraud and extortion, in the FIR filed against the accused at Sector 39 police station.