The Deccan Gymkhana police have arrested six persons for forcing people to donate money for distribution of relief material among the poor. The group allegedly threatened people with dire consequences if they refused to make a donation.
The police swung into action on Saturday and caught two of the accused demanding money from an office on Prabhat Road. The action came after one of the employees secretly informed the police. The area had been seeing several such incidents for the past several days. Four to five people would arrive in a car and enter one of the several offices in the area and demand charity for buying blankets for the homeless, wheelchairs for accident victims and medicines for people living with AIDS.
If their demand was turned down, the accused would issue threats and somehow manage to extort money from a few hapless people. Fed up with this, residents finally discussed the issue with senior police officials, who then directed the Deccan police to respond immediately to any complaint of this nature.
According to Police Inspector (Crime) S P Patil, on Saturday three of the accused had entered a laboratory in Lane 2 on Prabhat Road and demanded money for people living in slum areas. "They had also visited the same office the day before and extorted Rs 2,500 from the firm's employees. One of the employees telephoned us, and we reached the spot and caught the offenders," he said.
Rajesh Nana Shinde (32), Sanjay Dattatray Samal (32) and Rakesh Devidas Waghmare (24) were immediately arrested by the police. All three are residents of Ganj Peth, where Waghmare lives in Lohiyanagar and the two others in Timber Market.
Upon interrogation, it was revealed that the three were members of the Hindavi Swaraj Pratishthan near Mahatma Phule Wada. The police then made three more arrests later in the day, after getting more information from the three arrested.
"A total of four different cases under Sections 385 and 34 of the IPC have been registered," said Patil.
"People should immediately contact the police in case of any such incident," the officer added.