Four individuals were arrested on Friday for allegedly impersonating Vigilance officers and extorting money from a woman by threatening to implicate her husband in a bootlegging case, according to the police.
The accused, identified as Gaurang Vaja, Akshay Patel, Jitu Odh – all from Ahmedabad – and Manu Raval from Gandhinagar, were apprehended by officials from the Morva Hadaf station in Panchmahal district.
The police recovered six mobile phones and Rs 40,000 in cash, which the woman had paid to the accused. Her husband had previously been booked under the Prohibition Law.
The police report states that the men, dressed in plain clothes and armed with batons, arrived in a white vehicle posing as state Vigilance officers on Friday afternoon. They ‘raided’ the house of Arvinda Patel, a resident of Sant Road Tekri, and extorted Rs 40,000 by threatening to implicate her and her husband in a fabricated case under the Prohibition Law.
Despite Aravinda’s pleas that her husband had ceased his involvement in bootlegging after being previously booked, the men continued their ‘vigilance’ raid. Aravinda reported that the men forced their way into her home and the attached provision store, despite her request for them to wait for male family members to arrive, as no female constable was present.
Aravinda told the police that although the men found nothing incriminating in the house and shop, they brought a bag of liquor bottles from their car, placed it before her, and demanded Rs 1 lakh to avoid arrest.
The complainant stated that the men refused to leave without the money and even pulled out chairs and sat in the courtyard. In response, Aravinda went to a jewellery store on Sant Road to mortgage her gold jewellery to pay the accused.
As per the reports from Indian Express, Aravinda said, “I mortgaged the gold jewellery I had at home and brought Rs 40,000 to pay the accused… They accepted the cash and were about to leave when my brother-in-law arrived and asked them to show their identity cards… The accused, however, intimidated him and took him away in the car under the pretext of going to the police station.”
Aravinda followed the car to the police station and narrated the sequence of events. The police then ascertained that the four accused were not department officials.
The district police intercepted the accused and arrested them after verifying their identities. The accused have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 384 (punishment for extortion), 452 (house trespass after preparation for assault), 170 (pretending to hold public office and falsely impersonating), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), and 114 (crime committed in the presence of an abettor).