An ex-Border Security Force constable was arrested for allegedly robbing people at gunpoint and extorting money from people posing as a police officer in plainclothes, the police said. The accused, Umesh Pandit, 30, was nabbed from Jarcha on Tuesday.
“For the last 3-4 months, we have been receiving complaints about a person who poses as a police officer to stop vehicles and then robs people. Also, some shop owners in Jarcha said that a person posing as an officer extorted money from them. A police team from Jarcha was tasked to nab this suspect. On Tuesday, a police team arrested Umesh from the Jarcha main market while he was trying to extort money,” Anurag Singh, deputy superintendent of police, Dadri, said.
The police said Umesh is a BSF deserter and had previously been jailed on charges of extortion.
“He deserted BSF three years ago. During questioning, he said that he was not happy with the salary and wanted to earn more money. We recovered a .315 bore pistol, a fake identity card, Rs 2,000 and a yellow TVS Apache from his possession,” Singh said.
A case, under sections of the Arms Act and armed robbery, was registered against the accused. He was produced in jail and sent to judicial custody, the police said.
“We are investigating his possible involvement in similar cases. So far, three complainants have come forward against him. The number may increase with further investigation,” Singh said.
The police said that Pandit robbed people in the night. He used to station himself at an isolated stretch, posing as a police officer in plainclothes, and would signal bikers to stop.
“At first, he used to try to extort money from the victims. He threatened to implicate them in a fake case. When the victim refused to pay him, he robbed them at gunpoint. Many of the victims did not approach the police fearing that he is a real police officer,” Singh said.
Also, Pandit demanded money from shop owners citing ‘encroachment’ outside their shops, the police said. Pandit is from Naraouli in Greater Noida.
How to identify an officer in plainclothes
According to the police department, any officer in plainclothes will carry a valid identity card. Those who are being stopped for checking by an officer in plainclothes have the right to ask for the officer’s identification, designation and posting.
“Police never leave home without their id card and no officer works alone in the night in plainclothes, except in specific cases. If anyone signals a commuter to stop, the commuter shall ask for an identification card before listening to the person. In case an officer looks suspicious and refuses to show identification, the police should be informed immediately,” Abhishek Yadav, superintendent of police (rural), Greater Noida, said.
July 10: Two persons posing as police officers duped an elderly woman who was on a morning walk. The suspects asked the woman to keep her gold chain in a paper as a murder had taken place at the spot, took the chain and replaced it with a fake one. A case was registered against unidentified persons at Sector 20 police station.
January 10: The city police arrested a fake officer from a Noida mall who was trying to extort shopkeepers. The accused was wearing a uniform with a fake nameplate and was also carrying a fake identification card.
December 25, 2015: Two men posing as officers signalled a taxi to stop for checking. They thrashed the driver and drove off in his car. The car is yet to be traced.