ACB to probe CCB extortion scandal
Anti-Corruption Bureau will be probing the extortion scandal of Central Crime Branch after they were caught while extorting money from tobacco dealers.
Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Sandeep Patil on Thursday said, "two cases were registered in Cottonpet police station under extortion charges. DCP (west) Ramesh Banoth and CCB DCP (crime-1) Kuldeep Kumar Jain and DCP (crime-2) Ravi Kumar was sent to DGP who has ordered for further action. DGP has forwarded to ACB for investigation under Prevention of Corruption Act."
ACP Prabhushankar, his accomplices — inspectors RM Ajay from Fraud and Misappropriation Wing and C Niranjan Kumar from Economic Offences Wing — have been kept under suspension after the preliminary report suggested that Rs 25 lakh was extorted from a tobacco dealer.
Now, it has also surfaced that the police officers also extorted Rs 30 lakh money from mask distributors threatening to conduct raid stating they would put them behind bars with false cases.
Bangalore : The police sources said that, Niranjan had booked a cigarette dealer from KR Puram, A Ramesh, on April 30 this year, after seizing cigarettes worth around Rs 12 lakh from him. Ramesh revealed the names of other traders selling cigarettes in the black market. Niranjan and Ajay detained another dealer, Santosh, who was taken to the CCB office in Chamarajpet. The duo reported the matter to ACP Prabhushankar. During questioning, Santosh is said to have revealed names of the other traders.
Getting the names, the police officers approached traders and demanded for money or else would register a case against them. Niranjan was part of Special Investigation Team (SIT) that probed the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, while Ajay, who had worked in the Anti-Naxal Force, had won the President’s gold medal for his role in gunning down Naxal leader Saket Rajan at Menasinahadya of Chikkamagaluru in February 2005.
Why cigarette prices became high
Cigarettes during lockdown was sold in black market for a higher price and a portion of money also went to the cops, said the police sources. A Rs 15 cigarette were being sold at the price of Rs 20-23 in the initial days of lockdown. While the cops found out that though the cigarette selling was banned, the traders were selling it in black market and were making huge profits. Realizing that there is a potential chance to extort, they decided. The traders who started to pay money for police increased the price of a cigarette to Rs 30 to ensure they get good profits. To make it, they created artificial scarcity by stopping the supply for a while.