MUMBAI: Inspector Bhaskar Dhere took along with him three of his associates when he targeted the shop in Goregaon.
"On July 4, Dhere, along with three of his aides, went to Maharashtra Supari Store at Jawahar Nagar in Goregaon (W). Clad in his uniform, Dhere walked up to the owner, Shafiq Shaikh, and told him that he had been receiving complaints about fake gutka being supplied from the shop. He threatened to register a case against Shaikh that attracted a prison term of five years," said senior inspector S Paithankar. Shaikh protested innocence but Dhere apparently refused to listen. After an argument, Dhere allegedly "offered to settle the matter" only if Shaikh paid him Rs 1.4 lakh.
Shaikh arranged for the money and paid it to the inspector, but after a check in his godown, he realized that he did not have any fake stock and that Dhere had extorted the money from him, the police said. On July 5, Shaikh lodged a complaint against Dhere and his aides, Rafiq Shaikh Ali, Bablu and Salim, with the Goregaon police. At the same time, he spread the word among betel-nut vendors to ensure that his peers did not fall prey to Dhere's demands.
On Saturday, Dhere visited another shop in Malad and threatened the vendor similarly. The seller paid up Rs 30,000 and called up Shaikh who told him to tail Dhere's car. Shaikh, too, joined in the chase. On reaching Gokuldham Complex in Dindoshi, the two traders spotted a patrolling police team and shouted out for help; the cops halted Dhere's car. After Shaikh produced a copy of his FIR, Dhere was taken to the nearby Dindoshi police station and then to the Goregaon police station. After questioning, Dhere was booked on charges of extortion and cheating on Sunday. His three aides are, however, on the run. Dhere has been remanded in police custody till July 13.
The crime branch control unit was a part of the crime branch till police commissioner Arup Patnaik revamped the unit and brought it under him. The unit investigates adulteration of commodities and copyright infringement cases, but Patnaik has been assigning more important cases to the unit, which cracked the kidnapping case of a Kandivli boy, Karnit Shah.