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Mumbai News: How this owner of a wine shop in southern Mumbai caught extortionists | Mumbai News

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MUMBAI: Last week, a few men dressed in white linen entered a liquor store on Sidhwa Road in Fort. And posing as political party workers, they asked the staff if they had a license and other documents.

But little did they know that the store belonged to Ashok Patel, 65, who had arrested 117 people, including police, I-T personnel and officials from various departments, for extortion in the last 25 years.

They learned it the hard way Tuesday when one of them returned to eliminate the “hafta” (bribe) of Rs 7 lakh. How? Patel and his staff literally made a “trap”: they closed the door from outside and knocked on the police control room. Marine Drive police arrived and arrested Rajendra Waghmare, a Dadar resident, making him number 118. His three accomplices were also arrested, bringing Patel’s ‘caught’ count to 121.

Among the 117 trapped in the last 25 years was police inspector Anand Bhoir, arrested for demanding and accepting Rs22 lakh last year, and various sales and IT personnel taxes, police officers, BMC officials, firefighters, Police of the Railway Protection Force, Mhada officials and smugglers. and drug dealers. Of the 117 “trapped”, 35 were frauds posing as government officials.

“The four men had been asking for monthly” hafta “of Rs7 lakh and some bottles of wine. I am an honest taxpayer and I am not engaged in illegal activities, so why should I pay them? I kept negotiating with them and on Tuesday they thought they could arrive to a final agreement, ”said Patel, who is president of the Fort Merchants Association, which represents the interests of 425 merchants and merchants.

Tuesday’s incident, where Waghmare parked his car in front of the wine shop and entered and demanded money, was captured in the store’s CCTV cameras. Patel’s son, Bhavesh, called the police after one of the employees closed the front door from outside. During the interrogation, Waghmare told the police about his three assistants, Sanjay Ahire, Janardhan Gyanit and Manish Tambe, and the police suspect they might also have been collecting money from other merchants in the area.

Patel, who is a native of Bhuj, said he feels “relieved” every time he catches people on the wrong side of the law and has so far received more than 100 cash rewards and certificates from government agencies. “The most notable case was in 2012, when I notified the income tax department and obtained a cash reward of Rs5 lakh,” he said. He added that he did not have much education, but he was “technology expert” and had “all modern devices for recording, video recording and covert operations.”

Recalling a December 2003 case in which he helped Cuffe Parade police catch three policemen who had kidnapped three Hutatma Chowk merchants, he said that the merchants had been arrested by their kidnappers under the Chowpatty bridge by a ransom demand of Rs 25,000. It has also helped the authorities in Gujarat resolve some cases, he added.

Times of India

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