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Published on March 11th, 2013

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A ‘pass’able attempt at extortion

Group of five pose as Income Tax officers to extort Rs 1,00,000 by telling firm to buy 1,000 programme passes.
by The Editors | editor@themetrognome.in

Did you think that posing as Income Tax officials, as shown in the film Special 26, was a bit of a clever idea for extortion and stealing? So did a group of five men recently arrested by the RAK Marg police station.

Three days ago, the office of Ashapura Garment Ltd. at Navyug Industrial Estate, Sewri, received a phone call from a person who identified himself as SK Mishra, an Income Tax officer. “He said that the Income Tax department had organised a programme at Ravindra Natya Mandir on March 22, and for which our company would have to purchase 100 passes of Rs 1,000 each,” said Pravin Bheda, the company’s marketing manager who received the call. Pravin told his boss, Bharatbhai, about the call and the latter inquired with Ravindra Natya Mandir about the supposed programme.

No such programme was listed in Ravindra Natya Mandir’s schedule. Meanwhile, Bharatbhai instructed Pravin to buy some time from the Income Tax ‘officer’ by telling him that they would buy 11 passes. “But when he (Mishra) called again and when I told him that we would buy 11 passes, he got really angry and said that we would have to buy all 100 passes or our company could face action from the Income Tax department,” Pravin told the RAK Marg cops.

Bharatbhai lodged a complaint with the RAK Marg police station when two men, posing as Income Tax officers, barged into the firm’s office and demanded that they buy 100 passes in cash immediately. “I was scared, but I fobbed them off saying that my boss was not in office and that I had only Rs 6,000 with me, from which I bought six passes,” Pravin said. Meanwhile, RAK Marg cops decided to be present at the premises the next day.

About five plainclothesmen were stationed inside and outside the company’s office the next day, when the duo visited again with two more accomplices to collect payment for the remaining 94 passes. When told that the company could not afford to buy more than 11 passes in all, they got abusive and threatened the company with serious consequences, such as an Income Tax raid. On a signal from Bharatbhai, the cops entered the office and nabbed the four men.

Their ‘senior officer’ was also nabbed from a taxi waiting outside. The programme passes were also seized from them.

The five men have been identified as Chandrakant Bhat (age 43 years), Narendra Soni (48), Harshad Bhat (38), Nayanbhai Shah (55) and Bharatbhai Shah (58). The police are questioning them on their modus operandi and looking into possible past cases of extortion linked to this gang.

(Picture courtesy centralchronicle.com)




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