In fact, the accused Mohammad Rafique Shaikh claims he is the same khabri who had fed NIA the information that local couriers (angadia) would transport hundreds of crores worth of unaccounted cash and jewels to Gujarat on July 1.
Acting on his information, the NIA and income tax officials seized around four trucks laden with Rs 130 crore worth of cash and gems at Mumbai central railway station (‘False-tip off leads to angadia cash bust’, MiD DAY, July 3).
Shaikh’s involvement in the impersonation-extortion came to light on October 3, when police arrested him following a businessman’s complaint.
“Mohammad Rafique Shaikh, who was arrested on October 3, has been claiming that he is an NIA informant. He said he was the one behind the tip-off that led the NIA and I-T department to seize four angadia trucks loaded with cash and jewels being carried from Bhuleshwar to Gujarat in July,” said a V P Road police officer.
“We are investigating the case and verifying Shaikh’s claims. We are also trying to find out if the accused have committed more of such extortion crimes posing as I-T officers,” said DCP Nisar Tamboli, Zone II.
Shaikh, a resident of Sakali estate in south Mumbai, has a murder charge against him in Navi Mumbai for which he was arrested in 2009. He also has an attempt to murder case lodged against him.
The complainant, Ashok Mohan Patel, an angadia operator, said that six people had approached him at his Bhuleshwar office, claiming to be I-T and police officials. They said they suspected he was a hawala operator with an unaccounted income of Rs 32 crore and told him they’d carry out a joint raid at his office.
When the men did not find any cash after rummaging through Patel’s workplace, they asked him to cough up Rs 2 lakh, Patel alleged. Since he was shaken up, he called up one of his friends¸ Chetan Shah, to bring him the cash urgently, he said. Shah smelled a rat by his friend’s tone of voice and informed the police, following which all of the six accused were nabbed.