An advocate and his five associates have been arrested for allegedly posing as representatives of an NGO and extorting money from employees of wine shops by accusing them of selling liquor to minors, police said on Friday.
Kumar Shashank (27), a resident of Neb Sarai, formed a gang by roping in two personal security officers (PSOs) — Naresh and Pardeep — a bouncer named Neeraj (24), driver Nitin (30) and Shatrughan (21), who posed as a customer at wine shops, they said.
The matter came to light on Thursday after an employee of a liquor outlet approached the police team deployed near a mall in South Delhi’s Saket. He informed them that some people claiming to be officials of the ‘International Human Rights Commission’ had come to his shop and demanded money from the manager after accusing him of selling liquor to minors.
Later in a written complaint, Naresh Singh, manager of the wine shop, stated that five men came to his shop, two of whom were armed. They claimed to be officials of International Human Rights Commission and one of them, who identified himself as Kumar Shashank, threatened him and accused him of selling liquor to people below the age of 25, a senior police officer said. Kumar told the manager that they had committed offences under the Excise Act and JJ Act, and their liquor licence would be cancelled and cases would be registered against them. Kumar also told the manager that he should pay him ₹2 lakh to evade all this.
However, when the manager called the owner to inform him, the latter narrated a similar incident that had taken place at their other outlet where the matter was settled for ₹40,000, he said.
When a police team rushed to the spot, the shutter of the shop was found to be shut. But a car with the name plate ‘National Secretary (Legal Cell) International Human Rights Organisation’ was found parked there. After opening the shutter, five men, including two armed men claiming to be the PSOs of the officer of the organisation were found there, a senior police officer said.
Hired PSOs, bouncer
During interrogation, Kumar disclosed that he worked as a legal advisor in a NGO named ‘International Human Rights Organisation’, which had its office in Pandav Nagar. He had hired a taxi with a driver at ₹50,000 per month and two armed PSOs for ₹32,000 each per month. He had also hired a bouncer and was paying him ₹25,000 per month to run the extortion racket, said DCP(South) Atul Kumar Thakur.
The police have recovered the car, letterhead of the organisation, ₹20,000 in cash and two rifles from the PSOs, the DCP said.