The cases of extortion registered with the city police are on the rise as compared to the previous years and the police are trying to find ways to cut down on such incidents.
According to the police officials, while in some cases the underworld dons are involved, in many others, petty criminals use the names of the gangsters to earn a few quick bucks without much effort.
While in 2007, a total of 196 cases were registered with the city police, the number of cases increased to 162 in 2008. Last year, 196 cases of extortion were registered, while this year until June 30, 109 extortion cases have already been registered with the police.
Commissioner of Police Sanjeev Dayal said, "It is true that in many extortion cases registered with us, petty criminals are involved who used names of the gangsters. In the recent extortion cases, we are trying to probe whether the men really belonged to the Ravi Pujari gang or if they were petty criminals," Dayal said.
Police officials consider the recent incidents of firing at their victims for extortion as a desperate measure adopted by the gangsters to get back to their golden days when extortion money was one of their biggest sources of cash inflow.
"The extortion cases registered with the police are increasing because instead of giving the so-called 'protection money' to the extortionist, the victims now approach us and lodge complaints. This was not the case a few years ago," said a senior crime branch official.
"We have started cracking down on the underworld sources who are operating in the city. In many cases, new recruits are chosen to carry out the job of threatening their victims. These recruits are not only fresh, but also inexperienced for the task," added the crime branch official.
As far as the recent incidents of firing are concerned, Dayal added that a special team has been formed under the direct supervision of the Additional Commissioner of Police (west region) Amitabh Gupta, to crack the three firing cases registered with the Khar, D.N. Nagar and Oshiwara police stations.