Operation Trap: Cops waited 12 hours to nab inspector, 3 journos in Noida call centre graft case
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Operation Trap: Cops waited 12 hours to nab inspector, 3 journos in Noida call centre graft case

Vaibhav Krishna, senior superintendent of police of Gautam Budh Nagar, said he had been receiving complaints from call centre owners alleging that they were being asked to pay money to drop cases against them.

noida Updated: Jan 31, 2019 14:23 IST
Tanmayee Tyagi
Tanmayee Tyagi
Hindustan Times, Noida
noida call centre graft case,SHO arrested in Noida,journalists arrested in noida
Vaibhav Krishna, SSP Gautam Budh Nagar, addresses a press conference regarding arrests in a graft case, in Noida, on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. (Virendra Singh Gosain/HT Photo )

Operation “Trap”, which led to the arrest of a police inspector and three journalists for allegedly taking bribe from a call centre owner was a meticulously planned, and lasted for more than 12 hours, senior police officials said.

Vaibhav Krishna, senior superintendent of police of Gautam Budh Nagar, who joined as police chief of Noida on January 10, said he had been receiving complaints from call centre owners alleging that they were being asked to pay money to drop cases against them. Police are currently investigating about 30 cases of fake call centres registered in Noida since July, 2018.

After the arrests, police said that if any accused in cases investigated by the arrested SHO Manoj Pant approaches them alleging that their case was mishandled, the police will look into the matter and reinvestigate. Also, if any new facts come up in future, the cases investigated by the SHO will be looked into, a senior police official said.

Pant took charge of the Sector 20 police station in August, 2018 where he was transferred from Surajpur police station in Greater Noida. Sector 20 police station’s jurisdiction includes upscale sectors 14A, 15A, Film City, Sector 18 market, Atta market, Brahmaputra market, Ganga shopping complex and industrial sectors including Sector 1,2,5,6, etc.

“There were two teams involved in this opeartion — one being led by superintendent of police (rural) and circle officer 1, Noida, and the other by superintendent of police (city) and circle officer 3, Greater Noida. They first reported to me in my office around 2pm Tuesday. None of the teams had any police personnel from any of the police stations in the district. All personnel involved in the case were from my office,” Krishna said.

In addition, as per guidelines pertaining to such operations, the SSP had requested the district magistrate for two independent witnesses from government departments, other than the police. Two officials, HS Tripathi and Virendra Kumar, belonging to fisheries and weights and measures department, were deputed by the DM for this operation. Apart from the two SPS and COS, the two teams consisted of four inspectors and eight constables.

Police added that a team from the vigilance department was also requisitioned and they were present during the arrest in a purely support capacity. “The complainant had been asked to stay in touch with the accused. The money drop location changed four or five times during the day before the SHO’S office was finalised,” Krishna added.

The plan was that Chauhan would go along with Tripathi, one of the witnesses who would pose as an acquaintance, in the SHO’S office around 12.15am. He carried ₹8 lakh. The serial numbers of the currency had been noted on a paper which was signed by the witnesses. The money had allegedly been coated with phenolphthalein powder (usually used as an indicator in titrations). After the money was dropped, Tripathi would make an excuse, come out and wave his right hand at the police station gate following which the waiting teams of policemen would go in.

The note bundles had been wrapped in a white paper and Chauhan had kept them in his pocket. After all preparations were done, the complainant left from his office in Sector 6 around 11.50pm. “Around 12.05am, they stopped nearly 20 metres from the station and I told to go ahead. My team was waiting on the main road. They met Goyal at the gate of the station. Almost 10 minutes later, Tripathi came out and gave us the signal,” Dr Kaustubh, CO 1 in the FIR, said.

As soon as we moved in, one of the absconding accused, aged nearly 35, fled, he added.

When they went inside the SHO’S office, the CO and an inspector held back both hands of Pant, so that he could not rub his hands against any surface to do away with powder traces. By the time of the raid, the four bundles had been divided among the suspects. The serial numbers were found to be a match to the list made earlier. When fingers of the accused were dipped in a sodium carbonate solution, the liquid turned pink, indicating that they had come in contact with the powdered notes.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 11:11 IST