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Lokayukta crackdown sends extortionist cop into hiding

Inspector in question used petty thieves to blackmail local businessmen into paying to avoid being booked in foisted cases; victim approached cell after cop made demand for Rs 10 lakh

A police inspector, who was blackmailing businessmen into coughing up large sums of money by falsely implicating them in concocted cases, turned fugitive after being tipped off about his respective police station being raided by the Lokayukta police on Wednesday.


The Lokayukta office, headed by Justice Shivaraj V Patil, has been
making headlines for quite sometime now for cracking down on
corruption across the city zealously


Lokayukta officials said that Ratnakar Shetty used to detain habitual offenders on false pretexts at the Amruthalli police station, where he was in charge, and used them to target local businessmen and implicate them in robbery cases.

According to the Lokayukta sleuths, Shetty was reportedly trying to impress his seniors and gain laurels by showing them the number of cases he solved, but unknown to them he was actually fabricating cases and implicating innocent persons to make money.

Ran out of luck
The overzealous cop's illegal activities came to light after he detained Hameed, who is a habitual offender, on the pretext of an enquiry and then used him to extort money from Noor, who is a garment factory owner.

The crooked cop sent his staff to confiscate 35 sewing machines from Noor's godown and then summoned him to the station and threatened to book him for receiving stolen goods from Hameed, before demanding Rs 10 lakh to hush up the matter.

Initially the businessman thought that Shetty was demanding Rs 10,000 and immediately phoned his son to reach the station with the amount.

However, he was shocked when he was reminded that it would cost him Rs 10 lakh for safe release. Noor's illegal detainment lasted two days and he was finally released after convincing Shetty that he would arrange the money and return to pay up.
 
Shetty however kept Noor's factory key as surety before allowing him to go.

A shattered Noor decided to end his life, but relatives intervened and used a constable from the neighboring Sapigehalli police to negotiate with Shetty to bring reduce the amount, and finally the deal was settled for Rs 75,000.

Right choice
Noor also approached an advocate, who advised that he report the matter to the Lokayukta police.

Based on his complaint, a team of officials swung into action and sent Noor with a hidden tape recorder to meet Shetty and record their conversation to be used as evidence.

The plan worked, following which the Amruthalli police station was raided, but Shetty somehow got wind of the plan and managed to give the Lokayukta sleuths the slip.

"We have collected all the details and even Shetty's subordinates deposed before the magistrate voluntarily admitting that the whole operation was fake," said an official.

Shetty, who had seized 35 sewing machines from Noor and 10 sewing machines from other garment factory owners, had distributed them to his partners in Sampigehalli and Kothanur police station to stage that the same had been recovered from thieves.

Shetty himself is a habitual offender and was earlier booked for creating fake insurance victims, claiming money and also for selling seized goods.

He was suspended over three times, but always managed to go scot-free by using his political clout.
The absconding cop went underground along with his service weapon and radio handset since yesterday.

Though the city police commissioner suspended Shetty, no further action has been taken since the case is
currently under investigation by the Lokayukta.

Sources said that Shetty is trying to seek anticipatory bail before coming out of hiding to avoid arrest.

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