With the police’s mass awareness campaign on fake cops robbing the elderly proving seemingly effective, it appears con men are now cooking up novel ways to deceive people.
Police arrested two men posing as officers from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for trying to extort Rs 50,000 from a Nagpada-based restaurateur yesterday.
The conmen had threatened the restaurant owner of dire consequences for employing minors at the eatery, but stated they wouldn’t take any action, if he paid the money.
The arrested men have been identified as Javed Khan and Sohail Khan, and have been booked under extortion laws.
According to the police, two men entered Café Al-Kausar, Nagpada and ordered for tea in the afternoon. As soon as a young waiter served them, the men enquired about his age. They then approached the eatery owner stating that he was violating labour laws by making young boys work, and to squash the matter he would have to shell out some money.
“They sat at a corner table, so they go unnoticed. And immediately after the waiter served them tea, one of them started saying that there are minors working here, and it is against the law to make them work. We told him that they are not minors, but then they started threatening us. They demanded Rs 50,000, and promised us that no complaint will be made,” said Ateeq Soldier, a partner at the hotel.
“Sensing foul play, my brother called up other hoteliers in the vicinity for help who told us to entertain the duo till they arrived. We also called up the police control room,” said Soldier.
“When the cops asked one of them to furnish his identity card, he couldn’t show one. But the other man furnished an ID card, which looked fake,” added Soldier. The cops then asked the duo to accompany them to the police station.
“As we left for the police station, the duo got into their car and zipped away. Cops gave chase for a distance, and managed to nab them,” said Soldier.
V V Sawade, senior police inspector at Nagpada police station said, “The duo were apparently from some ‘Akhil Bhartiya Bhrashtachar Sanghatan’, and were arrested for extorting money from the restaurant owner. One of them had an ID card, and we contacted the head of the organisation. But, since we spoke to him he has not come to the police station. We are looking into the case and investigating if they have been involved in similar offences.” The two men have been booked under section 384 (punishment for extortion) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
Meanwhile, restaurant owners claim this is not the first time that they have been threatened by such phoney cops.
“Our industry is a soft target. The association will take up this matter with all members and will request owners to come forward if they have faced any similar incidences,” said Sudhakar Shetty, president Indian Hotels and Restaurants’ Association.