Five people, including a member of a human rights commission, a Home Guard and the wife of a police constable, have been arrested by the Mulund police for extorting money from fair price shops and beauty parlours, by posing as members of the International Human Rights Council (IHRC).
The gang has, in the past, allegedly extorted money from shops at Mulund, Dadar, Chembur and Mankhurd, the police said.
The arrested have been identified as Kalim Shaikh, 26, Vishal Kambale, 25, Anjana Gaikwad, 38, Jayshri Ahivale, 36 and Smita Shinde, 39. While Mankhurd resident Shaikh runs a cyber café, Chembur resident Kambale is a Home Guard, Gaikwad is the member of a human rights commission, Ahivale is a tailor and Shinde is wife of a police constable and claims to be a social worker.
According to a complaint by Kuldeep Kanhaiyalal, 42, who runs a fair price shop at Amar Nagar, Mulund (West), the five came to his shop on Friday at 4.30pm and claimed they were members of the IHRC. They were accompanied by another woman.
“They accused Kahnhaiyyalal of selling 10kg rice at a rate higher than the market price to the woman who was accompanying them. They even had a sample of the ‘overpriced’ rice,” said a sub-inspector from the Mulund police station. However, the complainant refuted the allegations, after realising that the particular variety of rice had not been sold from his shop.
The group then threatened to lodge a complaint against Kahnhaiyyalal, unless he paid then Rs20,000. The complainant, however, refused to pay them the amount and instead called the police.
All the five were taken to the Mulund police station and arrested after being questioned.
While the group was being questioned, the owner of another fair price shop from the area came to the police station and informed investigating officials that the group had extorted Rs. 40,000 from him that day, after threatening to cancel his licence for selling ration in the black market.