The woes of Ahmedabad airport don’t seem to end. First it was the recent flooding of the airport area that made news headlines for the wrong reason. Of late there have been reports of petty thefts at the airport, bringing bad name to it. Now in another blot on the airport management and security, it has come to the fore that a network of corrupt police officers and jawans is engaged in extorting money from passengers leaving the airport for the city or elsewhere. Investigators say there’s a tight-knit connection between cops stationed near the airport and those on highways to Anand, Nadiad, and Vadodara.
These rogue cops tip off their highway counterparts about cars leaving the airport for these cities.
One senior police official recounted a case where passengers were robbed off Rs 2 lakh on their way from Ahmedabad Airport to Anand in the name of fine. Despite a thorough investigation, including CCTV footage, the culprits remain unidentified. “The extortionists were thought to be dressed in khaki,” said the official.
Another senior official pointed out that the uniforms of Gram Rakshak Dal (GRD) jawans and police personnel look similar, making it hard for the public to distinguish between them. “We should seriously consider changing the uniforms so people can tell the difference,” he suggested.
DGP Vikas Sahay said that anyone who had faced such extortion should report it to the respective CP, Range Heads or SPs. Immediate action would be taken. “We’re also checking records of suspected officers. I assure the public that strict action will be taken,” said Sahay.
Three months ago, Sahay deployed three young IPS officers to patrol the affected routes near the airport at night, asking them to identify such rogue elements, admitting hints about the network had reached him three months ago.
A family recently returning from a foreign trip was stopped near Ongjad Toll Plaza. They were allegedly extorted out of Rs 60,000 by two traffic cops and an LRD jawan. After reporting the incident, the accused were arrested.
Fraudsters faking as cops is not new to Gujarat. Even in 2021, three such impersonators were nabbed taking training as GRDs, with fake ID cards.
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