5 held for extorting Palghar tribals over land compensation deal for gas pipeline projectUpdated: Jun 30, 2020 23:51 IST
Five persons have been arrested by the Manor police for allegedly cheating and extorting large amounts of money from tribals, with the promise of a good deal in compensation for their land to be acquired for the ₹1,500-crore gas pipeline project in Palghar. The economic offences wing (EOW), Palghar, has now taken over the case.
Pradeep Pardeshi, deputy superintendent of police (DySP), EOW, Palghar, said the five accused – Madhukar Sakharam Kakra, Narayan Dable, Rupesh Patil, Doshiram Ghatal, and Janu Rama Mor – have been arrested for allegedly extorting 35% commission from the tribals, with the promise of getting them a better deal during the acquisition of land for the gas pipeline project. “So far, around 14 farmers have complained to us and we are expecting more complaints in this case,” said Pardeshi.
“At a meeting held at a roadside dhaba on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway, the accused assured the tribals that they would get them a better deal from the said company in return for a 35% commission and to cover ‘expenses’ incurred for the land deal compensation,” said Pardeshi. The farmers who agreed to sell their land for the gas project started to get their compensation in January 2020 by the gas authorities.
However, some of the victims did not pay the accused, so the latter went to their houses and allegedly threatened them till they paid the commission. “We have arrested the five under section 420 (cheating), 384 (extortion), and 385 (putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). All the accused are in police custody till July 3. More arrests, including those of some government officials, are also likely,” said the officer.