A 23-year-old civil defence volunteer and his friend were arrested for allegedly threatening and extorting money from a street food vendor after impersonating as officials of Delhi Police crime branch, police said on Thursday.
The two were caught red-handed on Tuesday afternoon by a bike patrolling team of the Farsh Bazar police station. They had extorted Rs 2,700 from Manoj Kashyap after threatening to arrest him on charge of selling alcohol on dry days, said police. The arrested men were identified as Amit Gautam and Mohammad Iqbal, both residents of Shahdara in east Delhi.
Nupur Prasad, deputy commissioner of police (Shahdara district), confirmed the arrests and said that Gautam was posing an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) posted in the crime branch. Prasad said that Gautam revealed that he was a civil defence volunteer. “A case of extortion was registered at the Farsh Bazar police station on Kashyap’s complaint and Gautam and Iqbal were booked,” she said.
Kashyap in his complaint told police that he knew Iqbal for the last two years. On Tuesday around 3pm, Iqbal called him on his mobile and told him that he was looking for liquor bottles as all shops in the city were closed on the dry day. Since Kashyap illegally sold liquor, Iqbal asked him if liquor bottles were available with him.
“Kashyap told Iqbal that he had two bottles of liquor. Iqbal asked him to deliver them near Geeta Bhawan in Bhola Nath Nagar area,” said a police officer. After some minutes, Kashyap reached near Geeta Bhawan on his scooter and found Iqbal present with a man. Kashyap handed over a quarter bottle of liquor to Iqbal who paid him Rs 200.
As Kashyap was leaving the place, Iqbal’s friend caught him by his neck and identified himself as ASI Amit Kumar from crime branch. “The man threatened to arrest Kashyap and send him to jail. When Kashyap request him to forgive him, the man demanded Rs 5,000 to set him free. When Kashyap said that he had Rs 2,500 in his pocket, the man took the money,” the officer said.
But, before the two could leave, two policemen on a patrol bike arrived. Seeing the cops, Kashyap raised an alarm and screamed for help. The policemen overpowered Iqbal and his friend Amit Gautam and recovered the extorted money.
“Gautam had a civil defence volunteer identity card. We checked his social media accounts and found photos in which he is seen wearing police uniform and riding a police motorcycle. His Facebook profile says he is an ASI with the vigilance department,” added the officer.
Police have informed Delhi government’s civil defence department about the incident.