The UT police filed a challan in court against three accused in the ‘protection money’ racket that had rocked the city in January. More than 150 students of four elite schools had reportedly paid the accused -Rattan Lubana, 22, ABVP chairman at DAV College, Sector 10, and son of a BJP leader; Amitoz Singh, 26, whose late father was a sub-inspector in the Punjab police; and Rajveer Singh, 24, son of a UT police constable- for providing them protection and for acting against other ‘rich brats’.
The challan has been filed under Section 392 (robbery with extortion) of the IPC. If convicted under this Section, the accused face jail up to 10 years. The accused have also been charged under Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, which prohibits sending offensive messages through a communication device. If convicted under this Section, the accused may face imprisonment up to three years. Additional chief judicial magistrate KK Jain has now fixed the hearing on March 5 when the court would begin hearing on considering of charges.
The modus operandi
The three youths targeted rich students of Classes 9 and 10, befriending them at public places and parties, or via social media websites, with the promise of “dominance” and “protection”, police say. Initially, they asked for Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 at a time, and then for liquor or joyrides in their swanky cars. They had even asked students to bear legal expenses if the gang faced cases for brawls. The show-off, which was initially a mutual deal, then turned into extortion.
Challan lists 32 witnesses
The chargesheet is accompanied with the complaint of St John’s School principal Kavita Das which had lead to unraveling of the racket along with a list of about 32 witnesses of which 15 are students who were victimised by the accused in the name of the protection money. The challan also had photographs downloaded from the Facebook used by the accused to extort money from the students as well as flaunting their ‘connections’ and even guns to cultivate ‘clients’ among teenagers who paid them thousands of rupees besides funding their boozing and partying.
The children, most of them in Classes 9 or 10 and from well-to-do families, are from Strawberry Fields High School and St John’s High School in Sector 26, Vivek High School in Sector 38, and Delhi Public School, Sector 40.
Social networking site exploitation tool
While photos of the accused trio flaunting guns are on Facebook, police used the website to trace their modus operandi and connections too. firstname.lastname@example.org