The alleged greed of three policemen has put the Karnataka police to shame.
In a bid to make some quick money, the policemen threatened to arrest a businessman and his pregnant cousin, tried to extort ₹25 lakh from him in the national capital and ended up getting detained by the Delhi police.
Though the entrepreneur managed to evade arrest, he lost ₹7 lakh to a long-time business associate, who also took away a signed cheque for ₹13 lakh.
The alleged incident occurred more than a week ago, but the Delhi police are yet to initiate legal action against the Karnataka policemen.
The complainant, Pankaj Jain, identified the Karnataka policemen as Sathish, Basavaraj Patil and Muthuraju S.
He claimed that the Delhi police kept the three men in detention at the Karnataka Bhavan before allowing them to proceed home.
The First Information Report (FIR) registered at the Seemapuri police station has not named any suspects.
The Bengaluru connection
It all started with Bittu aka Amit, a regular customer in Bengaluru, ordering three boxes of cables, Pankaj Jain, who runs a CCTV factor at Jhilmil Industrial Area near Dilshad Garden Metro Station in Delhi, told South First.
The consignment was sent, and Bittu took them on his scooter to SP Road, Bengaluru’s IT hardware hub. As soon as he reached the market, a man, who identified himself as Stephen from a private investigation agency, reportedly approached Bittu and requested that he see the cables.
After examining the cables, Stephen called the police, who took Bittu, the boxes, and his scooter to the VV Puram police station.
The police booked Bittu, Pankaj and the latter’s cousin Parul Jain under relevant sections of the Copyright Violation Act, saying the cables were fake/duplicates and not of the said brand. The private detective was hired by a group of known brands to bust duplicated products reaching the market, the police said.
“Bittu had transferred some money to my cousin Parul’s bank account and that’s why she was also booked,” Jain said.
The ordeal begins
Pankaj Jain and Parul were at their CCTV factory when he received a call from Bittu on 23 December, saying he was visiting the manufacturing unit. A little while later around 1.30 pm, he arrived at the factory along with three other men.
The men introduced themselves as police officers from Karnataka and one of them, Sathish, flashed his ID card.
The policemen then allegedly showed Pankaj a piece of paper with Kannada text. Satish told Jain and Parul that it was an arrest warrant against them, and they had come to take them to Bengaluru.
“They took away our phones and even disconnected the landlines at the factory. They then told us that they would seal our factory and freeze our bank accounts,” Jain said.
“My cousin was pregnant and she was not allowed to leave despite repeated pleas,” he added.
A ₹25-lakh escape route
A little while later, Sathish reportedly suggested a way out. The arrests could be avoided if Jain could arrange ₹25 lakh in Bengaluru and hand the money over to the cops’ associates.
Fearing that the arrest would bring ill repute to his firm, and affect the business, Jain said he negotiated with the cops and brought the amount down to ₹20 lakh. The businessman offered to shell out ₹7 lakh then itself, saying he would arrange the remaining amount of ₹13 lakh within two days and transfer it online.
However, the policemen allegedly did not agree. They demanded Jain arrange the amount through his friends in Bengaluru. The man tried, but all refused.
Pankaj then rang up a long-time business associate — identified as Patel — who claimed to be in Delhi at that time and agreed to hand over the money to the Bengaluru cops’ associates. However, he made a condition that he should get a signed, post-dated cheque for ₹13 lakh and the ₹7 lakh Jain had with him.
A factory employee took the ₹7 lakh in cash and cheque in Jain’s car and delivered it to Patel the same day in Delhi. The latter acknowledged receipt and promised to deliver the cash in Bengaluru.
The ₹7 lakh was sent since the policemen had allegedly demanded the money to be delivered in Bengaluru.
However, Patel had other ideas. An influential person, he rang up the “office of the Karnataka deputy chief minister” the same evening, according to Jain.
Incidentally, Karnataka doesn’t have a deputy chief minister.
“He apprised the deputy chief minister’s office of the matter. The three policemen in Delhi received a call, apparently from VV Puram police station, saying the money had not been delivered and that we were using influence to escape,” Jain told South First.
The policemen were infuriated to know that the deputy chief minister’s office had contacted the police station. “They started abusing us and I, too, got frustrated and asked them to arrest me,” Jain narrated.
Twist in the police story
Meanwhile, unknown to the alleged extortionists, an employee had informed Jain’s wife of the drama going on at the factory. She alerted her brother-in-law Manish Jain, a government employee.
Manish, in turn, contacted the Seemapuri station house officer (SHO). Both men were known to each other.
The SHO assigned a beat policeman, who reached the factory by 9.30 pm and tried to reach Pankaj over his phone. The Karnataka policemen saw the beat policemen at the factory’s gate on the CCTV.
Sensing trouble, the Karnataka police personnel reportedly told Pankaj that they had come to serve him a police notice asking him to appear before the investigation officer probing the copyright violation case.
“They then said they had not come to arrest us,” Pankaj said, adding that the police later showed him the notice in English.
Bid to flee
“The trio then attempted to leave the factory even as Jain and his staff tried to stop them. They, however, reached the gate,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Seemapuri policemen had gathered a dozen security guards from nearby factories and was waiting for the trio.
A heated argument ensued between the trio and the beat policeman. The trio demanded to see the ID card of the Delhi policeman in uniform.
The beat policeman made the same demand, saying it was the Karnataka cops who were in plain clothes. Meanwhile, more policemen arrived at the scene and the three Karnataka policemen were whisked away to the Seemapuri police station.
The Seemapuri police asked Pankaj for a written complaint. Once the complaint was filed, an FIR was registered against the Karnataka policemen who were booked for extortion and criminal conspiracy, the complainant said.
After confirming their identities, the accused were taken to the Karnataka Bhavan. They left Delhi on 30 December.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Bengaluru South) P Krishnakant asked South First to check with the Delhi police.
“The incident happened in Delhi, and the police there are investigating. You can ask the Delhi police for information,” he said.
Patel goes missing
After the case was registered, the Delhi police started looking for Patel, who had gone missing with Pankaj’s ₹7 lakh and cheque.
“The police put Patel’s mobile phone numbers under surveillance and traced it to a Karnataka Lok Sabha MP’s residence on Mahadev Road.
“However, the cops were not allowed inside and they had to return. Patel is not attending to my calls either,” Pankaj Jain added.
(The report was updated to clarify that Karnataka has no deputy chief minister and to add the quote of DCP, Bengaluru South).